the panel selected by Education Commissioner David Steiner to advise on the nomination of Cathie Black for NYC Schools Chancellor. Three of its members have worked for Chancellor Klein, so they understand exactly what Mayor Bloomberg's priorities are.
Susan H. Furman, President of Teachers College and chair of the panel, confided, "It's pretty much we sit around for a few hours, maybe a day, and then do whatever Bloomberg says. In today's world, educational experience is an utter waste of time. Fact is my entire life's work has been a waste, and anyone who pays our tuition is nuts. But you should see the spread they're giving us for lunch. You think we eat like this at Teachers College? In corporate America this is par for the course. Anyway, what do we know about firing people?"
We went for further comment to Jean-Claude Brizard, former aide to Chancellor Klein, who told us, "Honestly, what the hell do academics know? It would be more practical to appoint someone from Clown College. They have training. I've seen them fit a dozen clowns in a VW bug. Once Bloomberg cuts 6,100 teachers, you're gonna have 50 kids in a class and what, do you think some teacher will know how they're gonna fit? I worked for Klein a long time and appointing Cathie Black is no worse than anything else I did when I had that gig."
Ronald F. Ferguson chimed in, "Look, Klein's been there for years, and the achievement gap has only gotten worse. We need someone who can really juke the stats, so it appears we're actually accomplishing something. In my heart, I believe Cathie Black is the best person for the job. After all, she's spent a lot of time trying to sell unhealthy soft drinks to kids, and has no problem doing business with sleazy exploitative companies. We really need a ruthless businessperson unencumbered by ethics to make it look like we're doing something for these kids, and only the teachers are failing them."
Michelle Cahill commented, "I know which side my bread is buttered on. And it's high time they asked me what I thought. Those bastards denied me my chance to be Deputy Chancellor, and now I'm gonna show them that anyone, absolutely anyone, can run a school system, even Cathie Black. She's way less qualified than I was. Jeez, I actually taught for years before I wised up. By the time we fix this thing, a drawbridge oiler will be able to be chancellor. And it's very important we continue Joel Klein's policy of blaming unionized teachers for everything and taking responsibility for nothing whatsoever. I'm certain Cathie Black can do that, at least. I worked for Klein and was on the Tweed gravy train for years, leading to the cushy gig I hold now, but that will in no way influence my decision. I assure you my decision will be based solely on how pissed off I am about having been passed over."
Kenneth G. Slentz said, "Let's face it, I work for Commisioner Steiner. He needs political cover. If we recommend Black for the job, he's off the hook. The important thing is that he never be blamed for hiring this person, and I'm certain once we sit around and act like we've been deliberating, everyone will believe we actually gave it some thought rather than simply caving to the whims of a billionaire media mogul. Everyone knows that Michael Bloomberg gets whatever he wants. I mean, the guy took a billion dollars to reduce class sizes and didn't do it. He ran for mayor and bought himself a third term, even though voters had twice said two terms was the limit. He could be President in 2012. Do you think Steiner wants to stand up to a guy like that? No way, Jose."
As panel members retreated to the dining room for a gala luncheon, UFT President Michael Mulgrew observed, "All of these people have heavy-duty backgrounds and success in education, so obviously David Steiner is clearly looking at this from the educational side, as he should be.”
Steiner himself had no comment, though he nodded emphatically at Mulgrew's statement.