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Transition at Tweed
December 30, 2013
Carmen Fariña said to be de Blasio's choice for schools chief
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is finally poised to name a schools chancellor, just days before he formally assumes control of the country's largest school system.
December 23, 2013
De Blasio: Schools chancellor announcement likely next week
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said today that he probably won't announce his choice for schools chancellor until next week — just days before he officially takes control of the Department of Education.
December 20, 2013
Why hasn't Bill de Blasio appointed a schools chancellor yet?
The day after Bill de Blasio's landslide general election victory, he pledged to move quickly on what he called his administration's two most important appointments: police commissioner and schools chancellor. He took care of the former within a month, and on Nov. 25 he told reporters he'd have information about a chancellor announcement "in a couple more days down the road." But six weeks into a transition period that is now nearing its end, educators are not only wondering who will be in charge of the school system on Jan. 1. They're also asking, what's taking so long? "Everybody is going crazy," CUNY education professor David Bloomfield said. That anxiety has permeated the Department of Education's offices at Tweed Courthouse, which houses thousands of central staff members, as well as the hallways of the city's 1,800 schools, which let out today for the 12-day holiday break. "We're as interested in it as you are," said Gary Nusser, assistant principal at M.S. 88 in Park Slope. So why hasn't de Blasio picked someone yet? The company line is that he still hasn't made his mind up and that his deliberation is an illustration of the extreme care he's putting into the decision—though that also echoes criticisms of his indecisiveness that have dogged de Blasio throughout his political career.
December 19, 2013
As New York gears up for a new chancellor, Walcott looks back
After eight years of Joel Klein and 96 days of Cathie Black, New York City schools got Dennis Walcott as chancellor in April 2011. Previously a deputy mayor whose portfolio included education, Walcott was charged with executing Mayor Bloomberg's education agenda in the waning years of his administration. Under his leadership, the Department of Education closed dozens of schools and tried unsuccessfully to shutter others, launched an initiative to boost the performance of black and Latino male students, and began implementing new academic standards and teacher evaluation rules. But Walcott also gained a reputation for his athletic pursuits and frequent visits to city schools — both of which made him different from his predecessors. We sat down with Walcott earlier this week to get his take on the job he's leaving behind Dec. 31. He told us that while the city is still not a place where he would be comfortable enrolling his grandchildren in any school, he has no regrets about his time in office. GothamSchools: Let’s zoom ahead to 12 years from now. Walcott: Twelve years from now? Now you’ve got my full attention. We have a new history [now] of what was going on 12 years ago. What do you hope that people will be saying about your administration 12 years from now?
December 12, 2013
Chancellor candidate Fariña praises Ravitch, but keeps distance
They might have come for Diane Ravitch, but many who ventured to Red Hook’s P.S. 15 found another education celebrity in the school’s new library on Wednesday night: Carmen Fariña. Fariña, who said she assumed she was on Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's shortlist for chancellor, demurred when asked where the selection process stood. "I don't know who the other people are on the shortlist," she said. "We'll see," she repeated to the well-wishers who sought her out. And there were many of them, given the significant ideological overlap between Fariña and Ravitch and the fact that Fariña seemed to know just about everyone at P.S. 15. That's because the retired deputy schools chancellor is a close neighbor, a Red Hook native, and the chair of Friends of P.S. 15 committee, who uses her thick Rolodex to drum up donations and support for the school. (There's even a Carmen's Corner in the library, created from donations in honor of Fariña's recent 70th birthday.)
December 6, 2013
Focus turns to school leader search in de Blasio transition
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio aside his pick for first deputy mayor, Anthony Shorris. Next to Shorris are Dominic Williams, who will be the first deputy mayor's chief of staff, and Emma Wolfe, de Blasio's director of intergovernmental affairs. As the dust settles from Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's two-day spree of administrative appointments, all eyes have now turned to his next big decision: who he'll pick for New York City schools chancellor. Speculation around a handful of candidates has been around for months, but this week the rumored list was shuffled and whittled down. Some names have vanished while others surfaced at the top of the rumor mill, a rearrangement that reflects concerns that de Blasio's top administrative picks so far aren't diverse, observers say. The newest contenders to emerge are Kaya Henderson, District of Columbia's schools chancellor, and Chicago schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who was in New York City recently, fueling rumors of her candidacy, sources said. Montgomery County Superintendent Josh Starr also remained in the mix, as did New York-based Carmen Farina, the city's former city chief academic officer and Regent Kathy Cashin. Andres Alonso, the former chief executive officer the Baltimore schools once considered a frontrunner for the job, has not been mentioned as prominently. The short list of education leaders outside New York City reflects a wide swath of backgrounds and ideas about education policy, some of which seem to align closely with de Blasio's views, and some of which don't. For de Blasio and his advisors, their choice will be a signal of how faithful he plans to stick to some of the campaign pledges that helped distinguish him from more centrist Democratic candidates during the primary.
December 2, 2013
De Blasio says he won't put chancellor finalists 'on display'
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said during a press conference Monday that he would not submit his chancellor finalists to public scrutiny. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said Monday that he would not publicize his top choices to head the school system, a year after promising a “public screening” process for schools chancellor. The incoming mayor said he is seeking counsel from his transition committee – which includes public-school parents and advocates – and from others as he chooses someone to take over the nation’s largest school system in January. But he said he would not subject his top picks to public scrutiny – a vetting process that some cities have adopted when selecting school chiefs and one that some New York advocates have demanded. “We’re not going to have a beauty contest,” de Blasio said Monday during a press conference near City Hall. “We’re not going to put the different finalists on display.”
November 21, 2013
Praising Bloomberg, report previews challenges for de Blasio
Panelists at an event hosted by Philanthropy New York, which commissioned a series of report on New York City education this fall. Early age literacy, Common Core implementation and college admissions support for disadvantaged students were among the top priorities listed in a new report that previews the education challenges that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will soon confront when he takes over on January 1. The 57-page paper also offers a retrospective on New York City schools over the past dozen years, praising Mayor Bloomberg and gains made on graduation rates, anti-truancy, school choice and data-driven systems under his leadership. "Perhaps the mayor’s greatest education legacy is the belief that good public schools for all are possible," the researchers, from the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, write in an introduction. "Yet the challenges, including resource challenges, remain huge."
November 13, 2013
Education “insiders” like Andres Alonso for NYC chancellor
A survey of education “insiders” finds that former Baltimore superintendent Andres Alonso is Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s most likely chancellor choice and New York…
November 5, 2013
In Harlem, mixed feelings about de Blasio and charter schools
For much of the run-up to today's mayoral election, Harlem was ground zero for debate over the role charter schools should play in the city's education system. Eva Moskowitz, whose charter school network launched in Harlem, helped lead opposition to Democrat Bill de Blasio's plan to charge rent to charter schools that use space in public school buildings, while Republican Joe Lhota chose a charter school in the area to remind voters that he would continue the Bloomberg administration's policy of letting co-located charter schools operate rent-free. But even though the neighborhood has one of the highest charter-school enrollment rates in the city, most voters there today — but not all — said they were casting their ballots for de Blasio.
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