Southern Brooklyn

Fidler Opposes New School Chief Cathie Black

Outgoing Chancellor of New York City Public Schools Joel Klein, left, laughs at a reporter's question while the new Chancellor Cathie Black looks on during a news conference at City Hall.
Joel Klein and Cathie Black | Source:

City Councilman Lew Fidler isn’t so happy with Mayor Bloomberg’s choice for the new schools chancellor, Cathie Black.

“Who is going to explain to her what goes on in a public school room between 9-3,” Fidler told the Observer. “She didn’t go herself. She didn’t send her kids. Her only experience is with charter schools and that is minimal. The arrogance of the appointment is unbelievable.”

“I served on the board of a Catholic high school for two years,” he added. “That doesn’t qualify me to be the Pope.”

Fidler, who is chair of the City Council’s Youth Services Committee, is supporting a resolution urging state education commissioner David Steiner to deny Black a waiver she needs to fill the slot. The waiver is to permit the appointment of a person without education experience.

Others signed onto the resolution include Tony Avella, Charles Barron, Mark Weprin and Daniel Halloran.

For those living under a rock for the past week, education advocates are up in arms after the appointment to schools chancellor of Cathie Black, a publishing executive with no education experience, who did not attend public school, and who sent her children to private schools.

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  1. I find myself again in agreement with Councilman Fidler. That Ms. Black doesn’t have kids in public school is unusual, but not by itself disqualifying. But what is disqualifying is that Ms. Black has no educational background at all. If Mayor Bloomberg had plucked a front line teacher, that would be more defensible. At least said teacher would know the ins and outs and scams and problems and successes of the system.Ms. Black’s learning curve will never catch up. Managing a magazine or 2 is not comparable managerial experience to running a huge bureaucracy like the Department of Education. And to propose she is so qualified is an embarrassment, which has become a running theme of Mayor Moneybags 3rd unlawful term.

    The only reason Bloomberg appointed her is that Bloomberg finds Ms. Black to be good dinner party company. Fresh off besmirching incoming Congressmen as rubes about their “crazy” idea about living within our means, insulting opponents of the GZ mosque as bigots and hoping Tea Party people had tried to bomb Times Square, we once again can see clearly that Bloomberg is an effete Manhattan-centric snob. Any middle class person who voted for this arrogant media titan is a fool.

  2. Not a perfect analogy, councilman. What you should have said is that it doesn’t qualify you to be the chancellor of the Board of Education either.

    You were so close, though.

    More important though is the stand you are taking here. I hope that the continued pressure has sort of effect on altering this decision.

    This is a sensitive position. The schools are going through great difficulties right now, and decisions can’t be made as expediencies. It would appear that Ms. Black was chosen because she thinks of terms of global considerations. Works well in the business community but education is far more complex. Obviously she would not be desirous of reevaluating the current plan to “cut losses” by closing schools. An educator in that position would be questioning the wisdom of that plan. That is why Bloomberg doesn’t want an educator running the department.

  3. Educators are taught to teach. That is it. Ms. Black is a great administrator. That is what is needed for this job. I vote for her.

  4. Actually think Lew Fidler has a greater understanding of Catholicism, Canon Law and the structure of the Church than Ms. Black will ever have of the Department of Education.

  5. James, If I were going to hire a great manager for a multi billion company that makes widgets, I would want that manager to at least have seen a widget before.
    Lew from Brooklyn

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