Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone and a star of Waiting for Superman, turned down the job of running New York City schools, sources tell the New York Times. Mayor Michael Bloomberg then offered the job to Cathie Black, a publishing executive with no public-school experience.
Mr. Canada, by contrast, has gained international notice as the leader of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a network of charter schools renowned for its cradle-to-college approach. He grew up in the South Bronx and holds a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Unlike Black, Canada is black.
Still, while Mr. Canada, 58, may have been more palatable to some critics, his passionate defense of charter schools and his habit of firing teachers who fail to improve test scores would most likely be anathema to union leaders and many parents active in the schools.
It’s not surprising Canada wanted to stick with his experiment, which offers parenting classes, health care and other support services in addition to charter schools.
Gotham Schools reports that students at Murray Bergtram High School rioted for 20 minutes after the principal announced teachers would not give out bathroom passes for the day in response to a fight.