One parent who was present for Cathie Black's latest screw-up is defending the new Chancellor's bad jokes (video below) about Sophie's Choice and using birth control to solve school crowding...sort of. Tricia Joyce said the quotes are "out of context. You know if she was nervous it’s not an unusual thing to have said." However, she continued, "Was it in good taste? In my opinion, no." The Department of Education agrees, and has now released a statement: “Chancellor Black takes the issue of overcrowding very seriously. She regrets if she left a different impression by making an off-handed joke in the course of that conversation."
The statement doesn't seem to be enough to placate some parents, who see the comments as more proof that Black is out of touch with New York's parents. Julie Meinn of CB1 told the Post, "Those kinds of comments show a lack of understanding of what parents are going through," and Councilman Charles Barron went so far as to accuse Black of racism. He said, “It’s ignorant, outrageous, and it’s racist. It has racist connotations to it - 80 percent of the children in [P.S. 234 in Tribeca] are back and Latino." The statements are also reigniting the argument that Black is not qualified for the position. "Overcrowding is not a funny subject," said city Councilwoman Letitia James (D-Brooklyn). "Constituents have expressed concerns that Cathie Black is not qualified for this job, and my role is to stand with them always, as I do in this case."