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by Neha M '14

New York Gets A New Chancellor

On November 9th, 2010 Mayor Bloomberg announced that Joel Klein, our school chancellor, would be resigning from his post.  Cathie Black, previous publisher of USA Today and manager of several magazines, was appointed to his position.  Designating Black as the new chancellor began a large controversy in New York City.
This decision caused much uproar among NYC parents and students who complained that Black had no experience in the education field.  After their experience with Klein, formerly a lawyer with a similar lack of education experience, NYC residents want a fresh face that represents change in children’s education. They feel that a chancellor must have some history or credentials in the field of education which Black lacks.  Black doesn’t have an education degree nor has she ever dealt with the public school system. Her own sons attend charter schools, which are independently run schools with a much different curriculum than public schools.  Mayor Bloomberg has raised the point that school education is like a business and should be led by a manger who isn’t biased and handles numbers.  The individuals who support Black feel that she has the leadership qualities and can handle the system because she has been in charge of numerous companies. When asked about the new chancellor, Ms. Shen, BSGE’s Chinese language teacher replied, “I agree with most parents that a person who has history with our system should be in charge.  On the other hand, the Mayor was willing to give her a chance and she herself believes she can do it.  I’m willing to give her a chance.”
Black is know in charge of 1,600 schools, about 1 million students, 136,000 staff members and teachers along with a fund of $21 billion in school budget money. To get to know the public school system, Black has begun to visit various schools around the five boroughs to see what she must do and what schools are lacking and to brainstorm ideas for solutions.  With a rough economy, there have been numerous budget cuts and there are more in store.  Our new chancellor wants to bring change to the current curriculum by raising the standards.  She wants to create partnerships with various organizations, universities, and businesses to set a clear path for the future for the students in NYC.  She also wants to increase the number of schools to fix overcrowding and insists on building over 100 new charter schools .
New York’s history with inexperienced chancellors combined with the selection of Cathie Black began a series of protests.  A month into Black’s term, debate over whether she is right for the job is still fierce.  She has been trying hard to win over the NYC parents with jokes and meetings but these efforts do not seem to be working in her favor.  NYC may be in store for a very shaky and difficult three years.

By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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