After weeks of hopes and fears and endless internet speculation, it now appears that Mayor Elect Bill De Blasio has selected Carmen Farina, an experienced educator to lead the New York City Department of Education out of the debacle created by twelve years of the reckless experimentation, ceaseless union busting and privatization efforts by Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
She has her work cut out for her. Farina is very well thought of by many activist teachers. The mere fact that she is an educator — not a former federal prosecutor (Joel Klein ) or a magazine publisher
( Cathy Black) or a political appointee ( Dennis Walcott) — is, as absurd as it sounds, a major move in the right direction.
It is, I think,
impossible for someone who has not taught in the NYC public school system in the past decade or so, to grasp how deeply and insidiously Bloomberg ( with help from his fellow “reformers” up to and including Obama ) has degraded the lives of students and cheapened, almost beyond recognition, the noble and ancient vocation of teaching and the very idea of education itself.
May amateur hour be finally and mercifully over.
Godspeed, Carmen. You’ll need it. And the teachers and the kids and their parents need a real leader who knows of what she speaks and what she does.