For the past dozen years, New York City has had a procession of school chancellors who were not educators: a banker, a prosecutor, a publisher, a former deputy mayor.
Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio made a daring–and wise– decision to select a professional educator to run the nation’s largest school system, which enrolls 1.2 million students. His search narrowed to three excellent candidates, all of whom are career professional educators: Joshua Starr, superintendent of the Montgomery County public schools, known for his strong stand against standardized testing; Kathleen Cashin, a member of the New York Board of Regents, who has valiantly opposed its unwise emphasis on high-stakes testing; and Carmen Farina, a seasoned educator and former deputy chancellor in the city school system.
De Blasio selected Farina, who promises to bring a new era of collaboration with parents, teachers, and principals. She brings humor, passion, and intelligence to the job. She spoke at the announcement about the joy of learning, a term unheard in the past dozen years. She spoke of celebrating the good work of dedicated professionals.
It is a new day in New York City. The era of punishing, blaming, and shaming professional educators is over. De Blasio announced that he will immediately scrap the A-F grading system that Mayor Bloomberg picked up from Governor Jeb Bush. He will initiate a moratorium on school closings and charter co-locations. Watch for more changes in store.
This is a great turn of events, not only for New York City, but for the nation.
Thank you, Mayor de Blasio.
Congratulations to our new Chancellor, Carmen Farina.