Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Little People

I've been criticized (fairly and not unkindly, but still criticized) in this space for my policy of reserving judgment on Cathie Black for the time being. I'm attempting to continue to stick to it. But it's tough when you see or read interviews with the incoming Chancellor, and she says boneheaded things like, "It is about people. They can be little people as young students, or teacher or principals, or all of the other organizations."

Really, Cathie Black? REALLY?

We've already talked about how this is not going well. We already know that you're enjoying being the toast of the town on the cocktail party circuit for your noble undertaking with the bootless and unhorsed in the public schools. I'm still trying really, really hard to believe that you want this job for all the right reasons and that you're going to do positive things in your new job. I really am, and there are others out there like me.

But listen. Using the term "little people" in an interview is just not going to help you. You were in magazines, so you ought to know the importance of choosing one's words very, very carefully. And while I'm 99.9% sure that you meant "little people" to refer to students...well, first of all, the kids I teach are hardly little, and while the kindergarteners and first-graders you've spent most of your time visiting schools with certainly are little, my high-schoolers certainly wouldn't cotton to being called "little people." I certainly hope that among the things you're busy studying is how to relate to kids of all ages.

I want to believe that this wasn't a Freudian slip. So stop doing things that make me wonder what you really think.

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