Why No Search for Dennis Walcott?

On Leonie Haimson's NYC education news listerv this week, this article by Andrew Wolf of the New York Sun was distributed.

Wolf argues New York state Education Commissioner Steiner should not "rubber stamp the request for yet another waiver for yet another under-qualified candidate yet again chosen without a serious search."

When I first read this article, I was inclined to agree. Cathie Black was a miserable failure, and most people with knowledge of public education knew that was going to be the case. Certainly, we should field a search for a chancellor who's worked extensively with large urban school districts. And, importantly, someone who demonstrates a real capacity for honest reflection about their work - i.e. not a narcissistic opportunist. (Does anyone like that exist among the higher ups?)

On second thought, however, I'm more inclined to agree with a commenter on Leonie's listserv.

Mel (the commenter) notes that mayoral control invalidates any discussion about a serious search. Bloomberg calls the shots. Regardless of who the chancellor is, s/he serves at the pleasure of the mayor. Credentials or no credentials, it's not likely to make much difference.

We can complain about the chancellor's credentials as much as we want, but for now, it seems there is little more utility in that than in annoying Bloomberg from time to time.


  1. Sadly, you're absolutely right. The chancellor should be representing schoolchildren, not the billionaire mayor, but that hasn't been the case here in years.


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