After keeping the mayor’s new pick for schools chancellor under wraps for three weeks, the Education Department is now keeping her visits to schools a secret, reports the Daily News' Rachel Monahan and Meredith Kolodner.
Cathie Black made her first public foray into a public school on Tuesday, but stopped only briefly to chat with reporters. She brushed off questions about school policy - such as how to deal with schools slated to close. Reporters were barred from touring the school with Black. And the Education Department has refused to allow any interviews with the new chancellor.
Reporters have repeatedly requested to know where Black will be, to no avail. This is in contrast to outgoing schools chancellor Joel Klein, whose visits to schools were public when he took the job in 2002.
Here is the Education Department's response to repeated requests for access to Black while she visits schools.
“Part of being chancellor is visiting schools and talking with principals, teachers and parents openly and candidly about what is happening in their school community," press secretary Natalie Ravitz said. "Having TV cameras and reporters there is often not conducive to such an open and honest exchange. So there will be public visits and private visits."
It's hard to say how "candid" a principal might be in front of her brand new boss, who has the power to hire and fire principals, as well as close down schools, especially with Black's p.r. team in tow.
The media executive has been the center of front-page headlines for weeks on end, with parent public opinion against her because of her lack of experience in education.
Parents, as well as reporters, have plenty of questions: What schools is she visiting? What does she think of them? Is she going to the ones deemed "failing," or just the A-rated ones? What's her opinion on budget cuts?
No one outside of her closest advisors actually knows. The parents of 1.1 million school children, whose future she holds in her hands, are still waiting to find out.
It's absolutely ridiculous that this chancellor is so unqualified that they can't let her talk to reporters for fear she'll make a fool out of herself.
But it definitely makes sense after she responded to parents' concerns about her lack of qualifications with this:
"I feel fantastic," said Black in the Upper East Side. "I just went to a couple of parties and people said, "How wonderful. Thank you for doing this for the city.' And I feel great."
Could there be any better emblem of her complete lack of cluelessness than that quotation?
Perhaps we should start calling her Clueless Cathy Black?