It is safe to say that Mayor Bloomberg's selection of Cathie Black as the next Schools Chancellor has been something of a fiasco. But one thing that hasn't been clear in the past month of Black-bashing is if the former-Hearst executive really is who Bloomie thinks is "exactly the right person for the job" and, whoa, looks like she wasn't the exact right person. The NY Times today gets through Bloomberg's veil of secrecy to uncover the fact that the mayor first asked Geoffrey Canada, the 58-year-old founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, to take the gig.

Two people who didn't want to be identified (which we understand, we wouldn't want our diminutive, billionaire mayor pissed at us for blabbing either) tell the paper that in the month before the Black announcement the mayor asked Canada come on board. But, as that would mean the educator and entrepreneur would have to leave his network of charter schools (which play a major role in the recent doc "Waiting for Superman"), he said no.

Canada didn't deny the offer, but also wouldn't comment on it. And it is worth noting that, with his "passionate defense of charter schools and his habit of firing teachers who fail to improve test scores," Canada would not have necessarily gone over with parents and teachers that much better than Black. But at least he has experience in education. Sigh. Nice to know that Bloomberg at least looked around a little before making his selection. And hey, US Education secretary Arne Duncan likes Cathie Black!