Cathie Black out as N.Y.C. schools chief in Bloomberg bid to limit damage
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg fired controversial schools chancellor Cathie Black just three months after he'd named the publishing executive to head the nation's largest school system.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has had to replace public schools chancellor Cathie Black just three months after he made what many observers saw as a highly unusual – and questionable – appointment to oversee the nation’s largest school system.Skip to next paragraph
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Both the beginning and the end to Ms. Black’s short and tumultuous tenure were an embarrassment to Mayor Bloomberg, who’s in the middle of his third and last term as mayor, dropping in the polls and trying to buff up his legacy.
Black’s replacement – Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott – is everything Black was not.
Mr. Walcott had been a kindergarten teacher for 10 years and a foster-care worker, and he founded the Frederick Douglass Brother-to-Brother program, a mentoring program for boys.
As deputy mayor for education and community development, Walcott oversaw the Department of Education, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education.
More to the point for many New Yorkers, while Black had sent her children to exclusive private schools, Walcott’s grandchildren are the fourth generation in a family that attended New York City public schools.
"I'm just a guy from Queens whose parents were raised in Harlem," Walcott said at Thursday's City Hall press conference. "I consider myself very blessed and very lucky to be asked."
Education-watchers were not surprised by Black’s departure.
'Cathie Black will be gone by Easter'
“Cathie Black will be gone by Easter,” he wrote on his blog. “A betting man might say that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will stubbornly hold fast to his choice, but I foresee a breaking point a few months hence.”