The Brief, Blunderous Public Sector Life of Cathie Black

A timeline of the 149 days between being appointed and resigning.

Cathie Black, we hardly knew you.  Here is a timeline of the former magazine chief's short-lived career in the public sector.

Nov. 9, 2010: Mayor Bloomberg announces that Schools Chancellor Joel Klein is stepping down after eight years of service.  On the same day, he announces his intent to appoint Cathie Black, the former head of Hearst Magazines, as Klein's successor.

Her lack of education credentials requires a waiver from the State Department of Education

"I'm truly honored to have been asked by the mayor to fill this important role," Black said at the time.  Bloomberg called her a "world-class manager."

Nov. 15, 2010: Critics demand that the waiver necessary for Black to officially become the new Chancellor be denied.  Civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel sends a letter to State Education Commissioner David Steiner, saying: “Today we begin a people's campaign to say no, no to the waiver for Cathleen Black."

UFT President Michael Mulgrew adds that the mayor's choice was an "abuse of power."

Nov. 22, 2010: A Quinnipiac Poll shows that 51 percent of New York City voters surveyed do not think Cathie Black is qualified for the job. 

Nov. 23, 2010: The state denies Black the waiver she needs to become chancellor, citing her lack of education experience.  The panel requests that Black work with an experienced educator -- a "co-chancellor" for the job.

Nov. 26, 2010: Mayor Bloomberg announces that Shael Polakow-Suransky, a former teacher and a member of Klein's administration, will serve as senior deputy chancellor and chief academic officer to Black.

Nov. 30, 2010: State Education Commissioner Steiner officially approves the waiver for Black.  On that same day, Black says she is "excited" for the post, saying it is "the beginning of a new era."

Dec. 5, 2010: "Give me a chance. I will listen. I will be out in the community," Black says in her first interview.  "Don't judge someone that you have never even met." 

Dec. 9, 2010: U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan meets with Black, says she "has the potential to be a fantastic leader."

Dec. 10, 2010: The New York Times reports that Black was not the mayor's first choice for the position.  It is revealed that Geoffrey Canada, the creator of Harlem's children Zone and a leader in education reform, turned down the job when Bloomberg offered it to him.

Dec. 23, 2010: A state judge hears arguments by a dozen parents who challenge the choice of Black as chancellor. 

Jan. 3, 2011: On Black's first day as schools chancellor, she visits one school in each borough and declares, "It's a dream job."

Jan 14, 2011: A video surfaces showing Black making an off-color joke at a meeting about overcrowded schools. "Could we just have some birth control?  It would really help us a lot," she quips at a meeting with parents in Lower Manhattan. 

Jan. 17, 2011: Bloomberg begins to feel the heat from Black's birth control comment when he is booed at an event sponsored by Rev. Al Sharpton in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

Feb. 18, 2011: Black can't answer questions regarding looming teacher layoffs. "How it would impact the size of classrooms ... I don't know for a fact," she said when asked how fewer teachers would ultimately affect students. 

April 4, 2011: A poll shows Black's approval rating at 17 percent.

April 7, 2011: Black steps down as schools chancellor, saying it was in the best interest of the 1.1 million public school children. 

"The outside forces have become so intense that education reform is potentially jeopardized and that will have an impact on the future opportunities for our school children," she said in a statement.  Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott is appointed as her successor.  

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