Schools Commissioner Cathie Black went out last night for her public debut at a Panel for Educational Policy meeting in Brooklyn Tech. And, like Bloomberg on MLK Day, she was met with some serious heckling. From the get go the audience of 200 parents, there to speak out against school closures, were in fighting spirit and had to be reminded by the panel's chairman that they should “try to do this with some civility and decorum.” And that was before Black even took to the microphone.
Black opened the meeting with a four-minute speech in which she discussed in vague terms what she has learned in her school visits while waving around Bloomberg's latest education initiatives (changing the way teachers are laid off to keep good teachers who haven't been working long, funds for tutoring, reforms to teacher pension plans). Except, well, you can barely hear her over the angry crowd. See for yourself!
After her remarks Black reportedly sat stone-faced for much of the four-hour meeting in which parents, students and even teachers spoke out against not only the Departments plans to close 26 schools but also its intention to stuff smaller new schools into existing school buildings. More than 80 people signed up to question the panel.
Oh! And apparently some angry parents took to waving condoms in the air, in a reference to Black's most recent fumble.