Christine Quinn Wants to Model NYC's School System on Zappos

(Photo: Wikimedia)

(Photo: Wikimedia)

This morning at the New School, Council Speaker Christine Quinn gave a sweeping speech on reforming New York City’s education system, where she rolled out ideas like tablets replacing textbooks and online service programs for both students and parents. Creatively using the online shoe company Zappos.com as an example, Ms. Quinn also pressed the case for how more should be done within the city’s existing educational framework.

“Now, not everything we’re talking about here requires a new program, sometimes it’s just about recommitting to doing things better,” Ms. Quinn said, quickly pivoting to a her shoe-based explanation. “I don’t know … how many of you are familiar with the online shoe company Zappos? Now, for those of you know me, I know you’re shocked I figured out how to work shoes into the speech. But I will say, 50 percent off online and they’re good, okay?”

Ms. Quinn, who’s one of the all-but-officially-announced leading candidates for mayor this year, reportedly showed off her own burgundy heels as she proceeded to explain the company’s famed customer service should be able to be matched by something as large as the New York City Department of Education.

“A pop of color never hurt an education speech,” she mused. “Anyway, Zappos is recognized as a stand-out in customer service. They’re known for being obsessive. I think being obsessive about things like customer service is a good thing. Their operators are instructed to stay on the phone as long as it takes to get a customer what they need. The longest call has been logged in as ten and a half hours. That caller may have had other challenges, but neither here nor there, the operator stayed on the phone. If Zappos can bring that level of commitment and urgency when they’re dealing with shoes, the greatest city in the world should be able to do the same thing for our parents and children.”

Ms. Quinn expressed optimism the tools are available for such a level of dedication.

“We already have the infrastructure in place, parent coordinators and district family advocates, and some schools are actually doing this really well,” she said. “But we still have a long way to go before every family feels like their concerns are being heard and their problems are being solved.”