In City School System, Hopes That New Leader Can Steer Right Course
An article in the NYT about the challenges Walcott faces in NYC, with a quote from DFER's Joe Williams:
But Mr. Walcott will have more than just budget cuts to handle. On a number of fronts, people inside and outside the Education Department report, the school system has been adrift.
He is inheriting an enormous agency, the city's largest, and some of its problems date back years. But the brief, unsteady tenure of his predecessor, Cathleen P. Black, made the situation worse, education observers said.
"Anybody working on any plan for the last two and a half months had no assurance that it would ever get done rather than just having dust gather on top of it," said Joe Williams, the executive director of Democrats for Education Reform, who works closely with schools and education officials. "Not having a leader there makes them wonder why they are showing up every day to this giant bureaucratic blob.
"They are trying to change the world, and they can't do it when there's no one steering the ship."
Two top education aides complained that under Ms. Black, the lack of a clear agenda from on high had begun to create inefficiencies in the department. Her predecessor, Joel I. Klein, liked to make quick, forceful decisions. Under Ms. Black, proposals meandered through layers of review: Ms. Black, her two powerful deputies, and City Hall officials, including Mr. Walcott and another deputy mayor, Howard Wolfson.
April 8, 2011