Monday, December 06, 2010

Willingham: Why Black deserves a chance to run NYC schools

Dan Willingham says (correctly): give Cathie Black a chance:

The job of chancellor demands expertise in so many domains--curriculum, pedagogy, labor relations, state, city and local politics, economics--that no one could hope to have expertise in even a fraction of them.

What matters is who Black listens to, and the extent to which she is able to ferret out the right information amidst the many interest groups seeking to influence her.

Will Cathie Black bring a factory-line mentality to the education of kids? Will she listen to teachers? Will she listen to her new second-in-command Shael Polakow-Suransky, reportedly picked by New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner to ensure some education experience in her office?

I haven't the slightest idea, and I don't think anyone but her closest friends and associates can hazard an above-chance guess.

Black's outsider status makes her appointment feel risky. But unless Mayor Michael Bloomberg located and appointed someone who had demonstrably improved another big city school district and who wanted the New York City job (find me a few hen's teeth while you're it), any appointment would have represented a risk of one sort or another.

Give her a chance, and watch what she does.


Willingham: Why Black deserves a chance to run NYC schools

By Valerie Strauss

My guest today is cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of "Why Don't Students Like School?"

By Daniel Willingham 

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