Back when Joel Klein was running the city schools and mayoral control was coming up for debate in Albany, the schools chancellor weathered no greater criticism than from City Council members Tony Avella and Charles Barron.
When he was running for the Democratic nomination for mayor, Avella said, “It would be my pleasure to say to [Klein] ‘you’re fired… don’t let the door hit you on your way out’” while Barron threatened to make a citizen’s arrest of the chancellor.
Now that Klein is out, the pair is unwilling to give a grace period to his replacement, Cathie Black.
Avella, who was elected to the state Senate earlier this month had not yet heard of Klein’s resignation when reached by phone this afternoon, and said that while he was heartened by the news, he “just hopes Bloomberg appoints an educator.”
When told that Bloomberg had named Black, a magazine publisher, he exclaimed: “Oh for crying out loud! Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I guess.”
“Obviously he doesn’t get the message. You can’t transpose one managerial executive from one industry to the Department of Education,” he said. “We need someone there who understands how to develop curriculum, who understand parental involvement, who understands what principals, teachers and students go through on a daily basis. In my opinion a magazine publisher doesn’t cut it.”
And Barron, who even made the departure of Klein a centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign, agreed.
“My concern is not with who is stepping down, it is with who is stepping up,” he said. “C’mon now. She is not an educator. How many times are we going to make this mistake?”
Barron said that Black would get no grace period from him.
“She should not be in there,” he said. “This city has some great educators in the Black and Latino community. It’s time to consult those educators.”