Her appointment still up in the air, a parent initiated a lawsuit this week alleging Cathie Black does not have a Master's degree, a requirement for the position she does not possess, therefore, her waiver should be annulled. And other lawsuits pending, and questions of whether the waiver is valid considering neither Commissioner David M. Steiner or Mayor Michael Bloomberg followed the procedures in State Education Law to issue her a certificate as a school district administrator. Yet Black's response to those protesting her secretive appointment is "let's put all of that aside. I've this position. Let's "move forward."
And she is moving forward. On Saturday, December 4, the South Bronx School Blog in "Cathie Black's Baffling Email to Principals" posted the email she sent out to all principals in the NYC Schools. Black sent out the email on Tuesday, with the subject "Hello from Cathie Black, thanking the principals for welcoming her into the DOE (Department of Education). Yet, Art McFarland, a channel 7 newscaster who interviewed Black on Friday reported many of those same principals upset with her appointment as the new chancellor and her lack of credentials in education.
A prominent hedge fund investor Whitney Tilson had received a copy of the e-mail as well, sending it out to all of his hedge fund people, and his charter schools buddies, having answered too the prayers of the blogger hoping to get a copy of it.
Black started the email by saying, "Now that the State has officially approved the waiver," she "is eager to immerse herself in the exciting work ahead." She said, she is "fully committed to our mission to provide every child in NYC with a high-quality education," though she lacks one herself. And the last thing many of those principals want to hear is that she "took the job--to build on the...progress...of Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein. What progress? In what areas?
She writes how in "four decades I devoted my professional life to blazing trails in the magazine and publishing industry." What does it have to do with education? Why would a highly educated cadre of school administrators want to listen to someone that for forty years "devoted her life to...magazines and publishing industry?" What trail blazing has she done in education?
While she writes she "intends to proceed in the same way" in her "up-coming tenure at the DOE (Department of Education) as she did in her former job as a magazine executive. She sees it as her "most important mission." So she needs them (the principals) over the next three years as she transforms the system to put children first.
And she writes, "as you know, I will appoint Shael Polakow-Suransky as Senior Deputy Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer. Hmmm, wonder if she understand the title to create it in the first place. She explains his duties and how he "will serve as my counselor..." She mentions Sharon Greenberger "as my Chief Operating Officer...also serve as my key advisor... Over the next few weeks she'll be working with...all of them to make sure this is a seamless transition." She's excited about getting involved...and beginning to identify areas of improvement...She acknowledges she has "a lot to learn about the inner workings of the system, but confident...her fresh perspective, combined with their deep experiences will help us rise to the challenge of preparing all NYC public school students for college and careers." She "thanks you for your support..look forward to getting to know you."
I'm sure just as bloggers in education are having a field day with the e-mail, the principals are likely scratching their heads saying, huh? And she didn't mention the teachers in the e-mail only sent it to her underlings, the principals most of them disconcerted about her appointment. In her interview with Art Mcfarland she said the budget constrained and she doesn't believe in seniority or tenure and doesn't like the idea of younger inexperienced teachers (she called the one with the fresh ideas ) "last in first out." And in this previous e-mail casually written she is used the word hello never used the title chancellor sounded as though the principals all her buddies.