Saturday, November 27, 2010

It takes a corporate executive ...

To run a school system?? Have you been following the Michael Bloomberg/Cathleen Black/David Steiner saga in New York City? Bloomberg wants a long-time media exec with no public educational experience and no apparent interest to “manage” (read slash costs) in the city schools. State educational commissioner David Steiner initially refused to grant Black an exemption from required credentialing – with apparent good reason – and Bloomberg, to his surprise, couldn’t garner enough political support to pressure Steiner. So the accommodation is a “chief pedagogical officer” to support (challenge?) Black’s lack of understanding.

See, for example,

Dave Waddington’s previous (and damning) post about a leading corporate university’s failure to provide value for dollars spent suggests that a corporate approach to education can be (and often is) more expensive and less effective than present efforts. The jury is out on Cathleen Black, with or without her pedagogical sidekick. (One hopes that she would have been smart enough to make this appointment on her own – but who knows?) I, for one, hope that she succeeds wildly. But success must be determined by looking at both sides of this complicated cost/benefit equation. Potential educational benefits to the kids and families of New York can cut the costs to the city far beyond the dollars the taxpayers actually spend on schools. But that requires a long-range view that corporate executives can rarely sustain.

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