The departure of Chancellor Joel Klein from the New York City School system marks a real change in the guard. Klein held that position for eight years and brought a measure of stability and toughness to public school administration that was surely lacking before his arrival. Yet by the same token the established power of the teachers and the principals unions limited what he could do to make major structural reforms in the delivery of educational services.
The major task that faces Cathie Black, chairwoman of Hearst Magazines and Klein’s designated successor, is to move relentlessly on that issue in an effort to obtain greater level of flexibility in the hiring, firing and promoting of teachers. Black also needs to see as her mission the effort to expand the number of charter schools, and to do whatever she can to develop any and all alternatives to a system that is far too large and ossified for its own good.