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We cannot win for losing! And that is not to say that the fight to have Cathie Black rejected as city schools chancellor is far from being over. What is disappointing to me is the crying out, or lack thereof, by our elected officials.
As educated, elected officials, they if anyone should know the importance of an education. I did not say good, better or best — just an education. I do not believe our black, Hispanic and few whites and Asians are receiving an education. If they were, our young would not be doing the things they do. And you know what they are. If it were possible that an independent educational agency could do a study on mayoral control in this city, I wonder what it would show.
With the crazy way this appointment took place, could this have been a friendly wager between two friends? Traveling in the same circles makes petty conversation and ends up with a wager that will have grave consequences if allowed to remain intact. Having fun in conversation after a couple of glasses of Chardonnay can inflict excruciating pain on our children.
I believe this to be a true saying: “When a dog bites a man first, it is the dog’s fault; when a dog bites a man a second time, it is the man’s fault.” Please do not construe the idea that I am referring to the mayor as a dog. I am not, but his position is an intricate part of that scenario. The mayor appointed an unqualified person to be the chancellor and that appointed person received a waiver and became the head of the schools. That was the fault of the mayor.
Just recently the mayor appointed another unqualified person and, up to this point, the waiver has been granted with the stipulation that she appoint an educator to be her immediate assistant. If this is allowed to stand, it is our fault. Who is “our”? You know them.
Another question arises: If the appointed deputy chancellor is an educator, and his credentials say he is, why not make him the chancellor? Maybe he does not travel in the same circle as does the mayor and Black. What a shame. Look what our children will miss.
Among the mistakes made by this mayor during his tenure, in my meager understanding, this is the worst. If you look at the closing of schools instead of fixing them, congestion pricing, resources for Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, the mess in downtown Brooklyn and how many more we may not know about, not to mention his flip-flop on term limits, is there anyone else who could consider recalling this man who bought enough votes to win a third term by a razor-thin majority?
Since it is known in the city that the mayor does not like to be told no, maybe he would say yes to an Asian woman educator, who supposedly turned the Washington, D.C., public schools around, serving at the head. She believes the Department of Education has to have the right to conduct layoffs by performance, not seniority. Also, teachers at each school should play a part in making decisions about the school.
Yet the final decision rests with the principal. In no other industry, except this present school system, would decisions be made about employment based on years of service and not effectiveness. She says it is time to use common sense. By the way, the schools there have an overwhelming majority of black children and they can learn when they are taught by dedicated, concerned teachers performing daily under the watchful eye of an educator, not a corporate lawyer or administrator.
If this administrator prevails and the commandeering may dictate that she does, knowing what we as an African-American people have come through will only be a matter of God’s time that she and this dictatorial mayor will, I trust, ride off into the sunset so that a new day will come with great expectations.
Bishop Charles L. Norris Sr.
Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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