2011 Education Year In Review: Chancellor Change-Up Rocks DOE
It was a tale of two new chancellors in 2011 for the city's Department of Education. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
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On the first day of 2011, the school system has a new leader. To celebrate, Chancellor Cathie Black tours a school in each borough, with a parade of reporters and officials in tow.
But she isn't all set. The new chancellor has no experience in education, and the learning curve is steep. She is kept away from reporters and booed in public meetings. Even her jokes fall flat.
Four top deputies resign and seven hours into a public meeting, she loses her temper with parents, after they demand she say something.
Three months after she begins, Mayor Bloomberg decides he's had enough. He then taps Dennis Walcott, the former deputy mayor in charge of education.
The newest chancellor is instantly available. He visits schools almost everyday, where reporters watch him dance, play kickball, make pancakes and check homework. At public meetings, he steps off the stage and sets his rules.
But he is very clear: he works for the mayor. There will be no philosophical or policy changes.
That means in 2011, the DOE closes a record 22 schools for poor performance. For the second year in a row, the teachers union sues to try to stop it. This time, the court sides with the city.
The union and NAACP also try to keep charter schools from moving into public school buildings. Thousands of charter school parents to rally against the NAACP.
For months, the mayor threatens the budget will force him to lay off thousands of teachers. In June, that's averted, thanks to a last-minute deal with the union and City Council, but in October, 700 school aides get cut.
And national test results suggest schools made progress early in the Bloomberg administration but haven't improved in the past two years.
The latest chancellor says he's going to have to do more with less.