Cathie Black Speaks in Gangster-Like Manner

by Liz Colville

Amid the kerfuffle surrounding Cathie Black’s nomination to be head of New York schools despite having a background in the very different field of publishing, Black’s own explanation of how she got the job stands out. As told to Cindy Adams of the New York Post, Black said:

Couple of weeks ago on a Monday the mayor called. We know each other a long time. I didn’t know what he wanted.

I mean, I picture this woman talking in a man’s very strong Brooklyn accent, and Law and Order’s Benjamin Bratt slamming his hands down on the interview table going, “Tell me the whole story, Black! I know you’re not telling me the whole story!”

No one is convinced this is the whole story. The Times City Room blog even asked other candidates of the job to come forward and reveal themselves. No one did. I mean, lots of people did, but they were all full of shit. The mystery continues. Mayor Bloomberg, meanwhile, had this to say on the John Gambling Show this morning:

This is a management job, John. It’s 135,000 employees, it’s $23 billion of the public’s money and 1.1. million kids that we have to get services to. We have a phenomenally competent team of education professionals that have been built up over the years. The real problem is how do you take all this money and all these people and all the needs and get them all together. And Cathie Black has all the experience necessary. And the couple people you quoted that said she doesn’t have the education experience, that’s now what this job is all about. She’ll have plenty of educational experts to lean on to help her in formulating policy, the real issue is does she have the character and the smarts and the courage to do what’s right and I think this is a woman that does.

But this is one of the most controversial and unsettled periods in the history American education, yes or no? Also in publishing, but that is not relevant!