Monday, November 29, 2010

She's In

It looks like Cathy Black will be the next NYC Schools Chancellor. Today the State Education commissioner granted the waiver she needs in order to assume the job on January 1st.

Now that its been granted, the only thing between Ms. Black and her Tweed Courthouse office is a lawsuit that her opponents will file in order to derail her. While I'm not a fan of this appointment, it's hard to see how it can be legally vetoed -- what would be the sound legally reasoning to say that the State Education commissioner wasn't allowed to, or somehow erred in, granting this particular waiver? Seems hopeless to me. So I think we'll be hearing Chancellor Black for the next three years. 

Whether or not she'll be a good Chancellor is almost besides the point for me. It's the arrogance that gets me.

Why, I wonder, is it okay for a rich mayor to appoint one of his rich friends with absolutely no experience in the education field to an incredibly important position? 

What's her vision for the education and the New York City Public Schools? 

What's her philosophy of education?  

How is this not just a case of upscale cronyism?
Ernest Hemingway once told F. Scott Fitzgerald that "the rich are different from you and me", to which Scott replied, "Yes, they have more money." But this appointment shows that differences between the rich and the ordinary go beyond dollars and the stuff you can buy them -- it goes to the matter of privilege. 

Cathie Black would not have the privilege to be serving in this post if she was not a wealthy and powerful person. 

She knows nothing about education or the public school system. Yet her wealth and position gives her the privilege to leapfrog over those who have spent years, decades, working in education, in order to get such an influential job. Just like the rich get the privilege to travel places most of us don't get to go to, meet people most of us don't get to meet, go to restaurants and parties that most of us can't get into, so they are able to attain a level of professional experience and fulfillment that they have NOT worked for, not earned ... because they're rich. They get the privilege to serve in powerful posts that only their money qualifies them for.

But then again, all's fair in love and capitalism -- especially in NYC. 

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