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Cathie Black Out as Schools Chancellor

April 7, 2011

Cathie Black resigned as schools chancellor this morning after just five tumultuous months at the helm of the Department of Education.  Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott was announced as Mayor Bloomberg’s chosen successor at a press conference shortly after the news was released.  Mr. Walcott will now petition the state for a waiver to take the post.

Parents, students and advocates reacted quickly to the resignation.  We’ll keep an updated list of responses here, starting with a statement from the Coalition for Educational Justice that was supported by the Alliance for Quality Education and New York Communities for Change.  Let us know what you think and add a comment!

Zakiyah Ansari, parent leader for the Coalition for Educational Justice, said:

“While a change of chancellor could be an important step toward real reform at DOE, we will only be able to begin turning our troubled school system around with major, systemic changes.  In particular, the City must do much more to include parents, students and communities in critical decisions.  Schools and educators are also simply not getting what they need to succeed from DOE.

“Make no mistake: we are in an educational crisis in this city.  The only way we can address this crisis is through all stakeholders working collaboratively.  If the mayor is petitioning for Mr. Walcott to be our next chancellor, we expect them to articulate a real vision of reform that must include the public and will lead to a better education for the hundreds of thousands of struggling students in our schools.  Whoever the chancellor is, we will work with them to ensure that there is an education system that works for all children.

“This last departure at DOE is another troubling sign to New Yorkers that this version of mayoral control of the system with no checks and balances is not working.  Parents and communities have been demanding to play a larger role in our children’s education for nine years.  It’s time to give it to us.”

The City’s largest student-led organization released the following statement in response to the resignation of Schools Chancellor Cathie Black.

Jorel Moore, 17, youth leader for the Urban Youth Collaborative, said:

“The departure of Cathie Black is the result of growing public anger with our education system, and an indictment of the leadership at City Hall and the repeated failures it has overseen.  Now that we are on our third chancellor in five months and public support for the mayor’s education policies is lower than ever, we hope it is clear to the administration that it is time for serious reform”

“We hope a new chancellor will be the beginning of real change in our schools and are hopeful that Dennis Walcott will work with us to implement the reforms we so badly need.  We look forward to meeting with him and collaborating to improve our schools.

“As students in New York City, we have to deal every day with schools that do not meet our needs, a system that does not prepare us for college, and an administration that has not listened to students.  Instead, the current mayor and chancellor have derided us when we spoke out, and shut down our schools rather than fix them.  We are ready to be listened to—instead of being ignored, to the City’s and to our own detriment.”

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