Though I’ve blogged frequently about the problems inherent in applying a business model to education, today’s announcement of the resignation of recently appointed New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, an accomplished businesswoman with no prior education experience, does not come as a surprise. Elissa Gootman and Michael Barbaro (NYT, City Room, April 7, 2011) report Black’s tenure as tenuous:
Ms. Black’s time as chancellor was troubled from the start. During her three months on the job, she offended parents with an offhand joke about birth control and bewildered City Hall aides when she seemed to mock a crowd of parents protesting the closing of a school. Aides complained that she required intensive tutorials on every aspect of education policy. And on Monday, a NYT-Marist poll put Ms. Black’s approval rating at 17 percent, the lowest ever for a Bloomberg administration official.
Perhaps others, including our politicians, should step back and consider that time spent as a student does not automatically qualify one as an education expert. Similarly, successful experience as a CEO does not automatically translate to successful public service, where people, not numbers, are most important.