Cathie Black is out as schools chancellor in New York City after 100 days of floundering. Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, who’s served as the mayor’s education adviser, will replace her.
“I take full responsibility for the fact that this has not worked out as either of us had hoped or expected,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who surprised everyone by naming a publishing executive with no education experience to run the school district.
A graduate of the city’s public schools, Walcott taught kindergarten for two years in Queens. He holds master’s degrees in education and in social work. As head of the Urban League, he helped develop programs to prevent students from dropping out.
“For the past nine years, Dennis has been a key part of all our education reform issues,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “He has been involved in our schools at every level, as a student, as a teacher, as a parent and as a deputy mayor. His children, you should know, went to our public schools, and he has a grandson now in public schools. So I think there is no better person qualified to step into the job of chancellor at this point.”
Walcott was well qualified three months ago too.
Jennifer Freeman, an Upper West Side parent leader told the Times, “I guess zero was not the optimal amount of education experience for a chancellor, after all.”