Poll Finds NYC Voters Disapprove of Black for Chancellor

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mayor Bloomberg appoints Cathie Black, as Joel Klein steps down (Edward Reed/WNYC)

New York City voters overwhelmingly say the next schools chancellor needs education experience more than management experience, by a margin of 64 to 26 percent according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University.

"Do New Yorkers approve of the Black appointment? Does she have the right experience? No and no," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

When asked specifically about Mayor Bloomberg's pick of publishing executive Cathie Black, 47 percent disapprove of the mayor's choice, while the rest are split between approving (29 percent) and undecided (25 percent). Voters with children in public schools disapprove of Black's appointment by a higher margin of 62 to 25 percent.

Bloomberg's approval rating has also fallen to 55 percent, the lowest Quinnipiac has tracked since 2005.

"The City Hall spin machine better shift into high gear," adds Carroll. "So far, all the negative news stories are murdering Cathleen Black — and not doing Mayor Michael Bloomberg much good, either."

Carroll says the only good news is that 25 percent of voters are undecided about Black's appointment, though that number drops substantially among the parents of children in public schools (13 percent).

Mayor Bloomberg has repeatedly said he chose Black because of her 40 years of experience in high-profile and demanding management jobs, most recently as President and then Chairman of Hearst Magazines. He says that experience is needed as the school system gears up for more budget cuts. In response to the poll, he told reporters Tuesday that he was confident he picked the right person just as he did in selecting outgoing Chancellor Joel Klein, who was a lawyer.

"I think you'll find three years from now they'll look back and say this was the woman that, you know, we had a great pitcher for the first seven innings, we bring in the closer for the last couple of innings and this was the right closer to bring in."

The mayor has also argued that Black will be surrounded by educators to guide her policy choices.

Voters are also split about the current state of the city schools, according to the poll. They disapprove of the way Bloomberg is handling the schools by a margin of 48 to 41 percent (this number has bounced around over the years with anywhere from 35 to 57 percent approving of Bloomberg's running of the schools). And 63 to 25 percent, they say they're not satisfied with public schools citywide. For a dose of perspective, those numbers were even worse in 2005 when 74 percent were not satisfied with the schools.

Outgoing Chancellor Klein fared better. New York voters in the poll say Klein's tenure has "mainly been a success," by a margin of 46 to 35 percent. That 46 percent approval rating of Klein held steady among public school parents, too, though 40 percent thought the chancellor's tenure had been mainly been a failure.

The poll of 1,287 New York City registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. It was conducted between November 16-21, the week after Bloomberg's November 9th surprise announcement that he had chosen Black to replace Joel Klein.

Meanwhile, an eight-member panel appointed by the state education commissioner will meet in Manhattan today to review whether Black deserves a waiver from rules requiring a chancellor to have education credentials. The panel will make its non-binding recommendation to commissioner David Steiner. It's not known when Steiner will make his final decision. The Bloomberg administration is hoping for Black to take the new post by January.


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Comments [7]

jamesscottberry from Queens

jamesscottberry from Queens
I taught in a NYC public school and I know why the graduation rate is up. The fact that the graduation rate is up 20% under Joel Klein while the National test scores for NYC students are lower should give a big hint that the graduation rate is not something to be proud of. Regardless of the additional 700 million dollars and regardless of whether Black or someone else comes in, I can gaurantee you that the inner-city non-charter schools are going to be the same or worse off four years from now. I know the real answer and you can find the answer yourself. Just ask the question: Why do many other countries not have our educational problems and why are most charter schools in NYC more successful than non-charter schools? Scoff all you want, but does it take a rocket scientest to figure this out?

Nov. 26 2010 01:38 PM

Michael R. Bloomberg became a political fatality last night.

In a rebuke like no other in his short political career, Michael R. Bloomberg was given a rejection of his pick for NYC Schools Chancellor.

Avoiding both his “trusted” inner circle and the public, Bloomberg announced on November 9 that fellow billionaire Joel Klein would resign and be replaced by fellow billionaire Cathie Black. Although he was supposed to be doing an excellent job as Schools Chancellor, according to Bloomberg, Klein abruptly resigned. Why? The unprecedented grass-roots uproar against Cathie Black and Bloomberg’s secretive process began immediately and ended last evening with what will go down in history as the fatal political wound that ended Bloomberg’s political life.

How does it compare to the public’s 2005 rejection of Bloomberg’s Jets stadium proposal or his ill-fated presidential run or his 2009 near defeat at the hands of relative unknown Bill Thompson? Last night’s decision to reject Cathie Black was like a Nuclear Tsunami compared to an inconvenient fender bender.

Bloomberg cannot recover from this no matter how much money he spends. His friends in the media cannot save him, that was supposed to be Cathie Black. Unlike tainted Tylenol or out of control Toyotas, there is no new product to make. In politics, once you have proven yourself to be who you are, a dictator and self-serving power-monger, all the money in the world cannot restore you.

New York City was the winner last night. Yes, the city of the people, not the ultra-wealthy, endured. New York City, which Michael R. Bloomberg tried to own outright, remains free.

What does he do as he staggers and goes down? Will King Bloomberg now fire his top advisors? Will he try to have a real, lawful and public search for a Schools Chancellor? Will David M. Steiner be attacked? Will those who should have indicted him years ago now have the courage to indict or impeach Bloomberg? Who will now emerge as the front-runner the 2013 mayoral race? Is Christine Quinn, Bloomberg’s key ally for his third term, now political road kill?

Nov. 23 2010 11:33 PM
Gerry Segal from Manhattan

Well I hope the outcome of all the skirmishes get to the only reason we have an education system: Our future. Our children.

In Education: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

I taught in the south Bronx 45 years ago. Same problems..­­.differen­t players. Nobody cares about the kids. This song I wrote in 1966 tells the story.


Nov. 23 2010 06:18 PM
Nina from Brooklyn

As a NYC Public school teacher, I am opposed to Cathie Black as Chancellor. She's too far removed from the reality that many of our students and teachers face.

Nov. 23 2010 05:13 PM
Sean W. from Williamsburg

This is deeply offensive! How could the majority of New York voters disapprove of a black Chancellor?! Race shouldn't be a factor in this decision.

Nov. 23 2010 04:51 PM
Bai Po

As a teacher you know how many parents met with you at "Parent Teacher Night." In your opinion, who has more effect on a student: the Chancellor, or the parent?

Nov. 23 2010 03:41 PM
Judy Weber from NYC

As a retired teacher, and graduate of the NYC public schools, I strongly disapprove of the selection of Cathie Black.

Nov. 23 2010 01:02 PM

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