Archive for November, 2010

Statement on the Commissioner’s Waiver for Cathleen P. Black

November 30, 2010

This Decision is a half-hearted attempt to salvage a fatally flawed candidate.  In previous public remarks, the Commissioner, as well as a majority of his own panel, stated that Ms. Black is unqualified to stand on her own as Chancellor.[1] As a result, the Decision all but ignores the statutory test of finding substantial equivalence of Ms. Black’s experience with certification requirements, a necessary comparison used in all past waivers.  Instead, the Decision merely parrots precedent and relies on a vague Commission Report that has no legal effect.  The Decision makes clear that Ms. Black has neither the degree requirements nor professional background required to serve, merely the organizational and charitable experiences of any corporate executive.  That she will likely have able deputies and is highly recommended by an appointing authority has no legal consequence, since this is true of any waiver candidate. Since no rational basis has been demonstrated to meet legal requirements, Ms. Black should withdraw from consideration as Chancellor rather than further delay a public search for a qualified candidate who can ably serve the city’s 1.1 million public school students.

[1] The idea of an independent Chief Academic Officer, as suggested by the Commissioner and 2 panel members, would be an illegal dilution of the Chancellor’s powers and was rejected by the Mayor.


Dunk’em and Skunk ‘Em –, Oct. 29, 2010

November 1, 2010
Full Court Pres shoveled the ball to Dunk’em, who missed the easy layup.

“Shi-cago!” shouted Pres. “I thought you said this school stuff was easy.”

“It got me here, didn’t it?” said Dunk’em with a smile. “It’s all about ball control. The media eat it up.”

“But what about the score? The real deal? Don’t you have to make points?”

“Sure,” replied Dunk, walking to a complex control panel on the sidelines. He pushed a button and the basket lowered to the height of an eight year old. Eyes closed, Dunk’em tossed the ball toward the net. Swish!

“Plenty of ways to score,” he explained. “Lower the basket or make it wider. The ball can be smaller or lighter. Whatever combination helps! We keep drilling until the players can barely pass, then take a picture before they forget. Sometimes we just reset the scoreboard. No one seems to care as long as they look good. We’re putting these control panels into every district in the country.”

Full Court looked worried. “But hold on. We’re playing the Republicans. Aren’t they going to know?”

“You don’t get it. We’re playing with them, not against them. We’re crushing the players’ union, throwing out rules, creating hedge fund owner/managers. If any player fails, they just take the player off the roster so their record doesn’t go down. Mostly, though, the low performers just leave anyway. They and the handicapped and the non-English speakers. But there’s so much razzle dazzle, the public doesn’t notice. Republicans had Shock and Awe. We’ve got Race to the Top!”

“But won’t we be exposed, Dunk’em? You have all that technology but they still can’t read the play book or count up to a double dribble.”

“No problem, Pres. That happened in my last job. By the time people realized that scores hadn’t really gone up and my new teams were as bad as the old ones, I was gone. That’s what all the greats do. Paige in Houston. Vallas in Chicago, then Philly. By the time you and I are found out we’ll be into your second term or writing our memoirs.”

“What’s your title?” asked Pres.

“I wanted to call it, Waiting for ‘Superman’.

“Still a good idea. I hear fiction sells.”