Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Is It Possible that 2 + 2 = 5 for Cathleen Black?
The timing may just be coincidental, and the interrelationships may be just as coincidental, but it is difficult to ignore their convergence. Is it possible that Mayor Bloomberg, or perhaps Joel Klein himself, engineered a recent appointment of Cathleen Black to the National Leadership Board of Harlem Village Academy's (HVA's) charter school network in order to strengthen her otherwise nonexistent education experience in advance of naming her as Joel Klein's prospective successor?
Consider first that Ms. Black's prior education credentials, as now being reported in the New York Times, appear to consist of having once attended a mentor day with Michelle Obama at a Detroit school, and having once been the figurehead "principal for a day" at a Bronx school. Add to this the fact that she just joined the HVA National Leadership Board "a few months ago" and has yet to actually attend any meetings. Throw on top of that the information that the co-chair of this advisory board (along with singer John Legend) is Rupert Murdoch, a multi-million-dollar contributor to HVA, and top it all off with the announcement that Joel Klein is taking an education industry, strategy-related position at Murdoch's News Corporation.
Considering the somewhat greasy incestuousness of it all, combined with Mayor Bloomberg's penchant for "keeping it all in the multi-millionaire, corporate business family," and it seems not beyond the realm of possibility that Ms. Black was added for reasons other than the board's pressing needs. After all, that HVA board beyond Murdoch and Legend already featured the likes of Barry Diller, Jack Welch, Bill Cosby, Charles Bronfman, Tiki Barber, Richard Parsons, and Steve Forbes. How many more billionaires and public figures did they really need, yet suddenly a relative unknown (outside the magazine and news publishing business) is appended to a board whose membership is rather more illustrious than Ms. Black.
In anticipation of naming Ms. Black as his choice for NYC Schools Chancellor and recognizing the glaring paucity of education-related experience on an otherwise fine resume, could it be that Rupert Murdoch or someone else on the Board, or perhaps Ms. Kenney herself (whose professional closeness, along with that of Eva Moskowitz, to Joel Klein is hardly a secret), was approached for a favor, to help establish a modest bit of education credibility for Ms. Black?
This writer is not given to conspiracy theories in general, but the timing and interconnectedness of it all, added to Mayor Bloomberg's disturbing secrecy in acting seemingly entirely on his own, to fill a VERY public position, certainly generates some interesting questions and intriguing possibilities. Then again, maybe it's all just the product of some unfathomable cosmic karma.