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Big school problems await new chancellor

In introducing herself this week to a surprised city as the next New York City schools chancellor, Cathleen P. Black asked for the one thing that may prove to be impossible, reports the New York Times.

 “I have no illusion about this being an easy next three years–quite the opposite,” said Ms. Black, a publishing executive without political or education leadership experience. “But what I ask for is your patience, as I get up to speed on the issues facing K-12 education.”

But there will be no cushy learning period for Ms. Black. She will be entering a treacherous political and educational landscape, far darker than it was just one year ago, when elementary and middle school test scores told a story of continual growth and achievements. Now, more than 100,000 additional students who failed toughened state tests this year need tutoring and help. Up to 47 schools face closing. The teachers’ union, which has been without a contract for more than a year, has been more adversarial toward the city than supportive, a relationship that promises to sour further if the Department of Education continues to back the public release of teacher rankings based on student test scores…

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