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[Susan notes: Isn't it interesting that The New York Times, which studiously avoids quoting anybody but the usual suspects from the Fordham and Hoover Institutes, as well as the Democrats for Education Reform, and others of this ilk in their articles, publishes letters from educators. See: Who gets to speaks about what schools need? Race to the Top and the Bill Gates Connection.

Teachers are NEVER heard from--except in the Letters section and in stories about sexual misconduct. Oh, and if a teacher ever wins a mega-lottery, probably she'll get quoted on that.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re âKlein Resigning as Chancellor of City Schoolsâ (front page, Nov. 10):

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called Cathleen P. Black, his choice for chancellor of the New York City school system, âa superstar manager.â

The question is not about her ability as a manager. The question is about her ability as a manager of issues and people involved in education. In this area, everything I have read says she is not qualified.

Yes, the city schools need a manager with business acumen, but I would posit that thatâs not enough. They also need a manager with expertise and experience in education.

While Ms. Black, in Mr. Bloombergâs words, knows âthe skills our children will need to succeed in the 21st-century economy,â she should be working in concert with a chancellor who is an educator and who knows the strategies required to teach those skills.

Marlene K. Gussin

Douglaston, Queens, Nov. 10, 2010

The writer is a retired teacher in the New York City public schools.


To the Editor:

Ask teachers in New York City if the school system improved under the leadership of Joel I. Klein, and they will tell you âNo!â Constant test preparation, accountability, data collection and top-down management have not made the children in our public school system smarter, more independent, more creative, more inquisitive or, most important, more eager to learn.

Replacing one non-educator chancellor with another doesnât make sense. Our school system needs a seasoned educator at the top â someone who understands how children learn, how they think, how they behave, how they enjoy life. There are many capable candidates to choose from.

Bill Liebeskind

New York, Nov. 10, 2010

The writer is a teacher in the New York City public schools.


To the Editor:

It is a source of amazement to me that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg insists on hiring a schools chief who has no expertise in how people learn, or curriculum and instruction.

The New York State Education Department should not issue a waiver for Cathleen P. Black, as required for non-educators. Why should we demand less of our leaders than we do of our teachers?

Is it not possible to find a charismatic leader who is a clear and determined communicator, and who also understands the history of public education in America, what cognitive science has to say about how people learn, and the role that community and school leadership play in the effectiveness of any given school?

This is a highly specialized position, and we are hiring a leader with no experience in education â yet again. How can this be good for the children of New York City?

Janice Koch

Fulton, Md., Nov. 10, 2010

The writer is professor emerita, Department of Curriculum and Teaching, Hofstra University.

multiple authors

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