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Same Reforms, Different Face

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

So Cathie Black is out and Dennis Walcott is the new NYC Schools Chancellor. Walcott was previously Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for education. In DC Michelle Rhee resigned after Adrian Fenty lost his mayoral reelection and was replaced buy her #2 Kaya Henderson.

Both Henderson and Walcott present different faces but neither proposes and changes to the fundamental policies of the school districts. Yes they may be nicer and more polished in dealing with students, parents, and the press but the underlying policy that you were upset with it still being implemented.

On a larger scale this same principle can be seen in federal education policy by comparing the policies of the Department of Education under former Secretary Margaret Spellings and under current Secretary Arne Duncan. Race to the Top has been an extension of the principles of No Child Left Behind, just with the states competing among each other to receive federal money instead of the money being shared among all 50 states. There has been no shift away from high stakes testing, charter schools or criticism of public school teachers.

A new fresh face isn’t enough to clean up the problems and bring change.

Updated: Exhibit A: NY Times article detailing Dennis Walcott’s plans to continue the same policies as Joel Klein and Cathie Black

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