Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cathleen Black Fired From "Celebrity Apprentice"

I guess the title is misleading: today Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Cathleen Black will no longer be New York City Schools Chancellor. Read about it here.

For those unfamiliar with the topic, Cathleen Black was a former magazine executive with absolutely no experience in education. She was handpicked by Bloomberg less than five months ago to replace Joel Klein. Her tenure has been marked by a lot of controversy, mostly stemming from her lack of qualifications and knowledge about the education system.

Revamping the system is necessary, but I'm not too sure education can be thought of a business model. If I'm selling apple juice, I'm going to pick and choose the best apples and use my machines to turn apples to apple juice. I wouldn't use bad apples to make this juice, or else it would harm my business and reputation. I certainly wouldn't replace my machines if I found bad apples growing on my trees: it's not the machine's fault for the apple going bad, it's my fault for waiting too long to pick them.

Public schools can't pick and choose the best apples. We have to work with what we get, and our positive exposure/impact on them is limited to how long they decide to stay in the building. The chances of a child becoming a "bad apple" are significantly reduced if this child is raised in a home that values education. Simple as that. Unfortunately, poverty results in broken homes, which creates this nasty "statistic" politicians are trying to "fix." You can have the best staff in a school, but if you cater to a poverty-stricken neighborhood, your numbers will suck, your teachers will feel burnt out and your administration will try random policy and procedure experiments to see if kids can do better on state tests.


Anonymous said...

Yo Mista, stop with the common sense already because politicians don't want to hear it. There is no real desire to fix the root cause of economic poverty. And even though it's not popular to say it, there is also a serious spiritual and intellectual poverty at work here that must be addressed within communities to shore up the home lives of impoverished people. No matter what your socioeconomic status, you have to make responsible choices about romantic relationships, marriage, raising children, and finances. In addition, the media bombards our kids with models of stupidity on reality shows, glorifies drug use, promiscuity, and debauchery in music and movies, and it is so hard to battle all of those fronts at once.

Yo Mista said...

@ Anonymous:
I guess you're right. Let's fire some teachers.