The Mayor's response, according to the Daily News?
"While parent and community input is an important part of our chancellor search, the decision is ultimately the Mayor's, who is a proud parent of former NYC public school students,” said De Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie."
What? How is parent or community input part of the Mayor's search, when the search has been undertaken in complete secrecy, no one has been asked their views and potential candidates don't even know how to apply? And the suggestion here appears to justify excluding parents , because de Blasio was once a public school parent himself, is very curious. By the same token, one might argue that he shouldn't have had to be elected by voters for a second term, because he was once a voter himself.
Lindsey Christ of NY1 dug up the 2012 video showing when de Blasio ran for office originally, he described how he would select a Chancellor this way:
"With a serious serious public screening. Cathy Black was pushed down our throats because of mayoral control gone to an undemocratic level. No one said mayoral control meant a mayoral narrow inability to communicate, to give the public a role, to air ideas and decisions before they were made. We need a more democratic small "d" version of mayoral control and we need a chancellor who is presented to the public not just forced down their throat."
Here is Lindsey's tweet today, with a response from Kim Watkins, CEC 3 President:
"A serious, serious public screening" is what @NYCMayor said in 2012 should happen with a Chancellor search. Now he says search will be secretive. We found the video of his 2012 comments. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/AuNDVYzxWt— Lindsey Christ (@LindseyChrist) January 24, 2018
Great find, not just on the hiring of next Chancellor but on mayoral control across a wide array of school issues - see @CEC3NYC opinion @GothamGazette https://t.co/t3k8E34fq1 1.1 mil children system needs checks & balances not autocratic rule.— kimwatkinsnyc (@kimwatkinsnyc) January 24, 2018
The Mayor's argument now seems to be that holding a public screening with parent input would discourage potential candidates . But as David Bloomfield pointed out yesterday in Chalkbeat, this sort of public vetting goes on all the time in other districts across the country:
In those districts, community consensus is usually reached on a job description with desired qualifications. The post is widely advertised, often by a specialized superintendent search firm that conducts an initial review of confidential applications. A list of qualified candidates is presented to the Board of Education, which further culls the still-private list to arrive at three to five finalists.\\
After the candidates are given a chance to inform their current employers, they are publicly announced and interviews scheduled. In the ensuing weeks, the public and press explore finalists’ records. Members of the screening committee may even visit their home districts. Candidate interviews are often televised or streamed online. The position is then offered after a period of post-interview public comment and board deliberation.
Right now a similar process is occurring in Massachusetts, where three finalists who applied to be appointed State Education Commissioner are about to appear in public to answer questions:
The candidates were selected among 18 applicants by the preliminary screening committee made up of five board members who are voting members of the committee and 10 non-voting members from the public. The education board will interview the finalists at a public meeting on Jan. 26, 2018 at the Omni Parker House in Boston.
This is far better than the haphazard process that brought us such Chancellors as Cathy Black in the recent past. If candidates have the gumption to run the nation's largest school district, they should also have the confidence to appear before the public and explain what they would do in the job.
As David Bloomfield concludes,
A thoughtful, transparent process would be a win-win for the mayor, enhancing his progressive credentials while allowing him to remain in the driver’s seat. A public search would also be a win for the city and the next chancellor, who would arrive with more of a popular mandate than if she or he was vetted and hired behind closed doors...A public process makes sense, and the moment is now.
Parents Demand de Blasio Give Them Role in Chancellor Selection from MORE-UFT/GEM on Vimeo.