New Schools Chancellor Addresses Media, Parents React

Fort Greene

NEW YORK (PIX11) -- The City Hall insider with a new job said he is happy to step in and take Cathie Black's place and it is now giving parents new hope about school closures and co-location schools.

"I think I'll do a halfway decent job and it's not just me, it's all the people and the great team around me," said the next head of schools, Dennis Walcott.  Walcott has been serving as the deputy mayor for education and community development

Walcott explained to the Department of Education Thursday that he would strive to be a better leader than Black was as the new head of New York City schools.

Black, a former publishing executive, held the position for just four months.

Her term was overshadowed by heavy opposition and protests from parents and school advocates. Black ordered many schools to close and others to merge.

But news today that Walcott, who graduated from the New York City
schools, is taking over; gave parents hope for change.
Especially at PS 67 in Fort Greene, where there's been strong
backlash after it merged with PS 369, a school for children with
special needs and a charter school.

Asked if it was a positive step, one PS 67 parent said, "Yes, yes it does! I mean the other school is just taking over our schools.”

"If it were up to me, each school would have their own building," said another.

PIX 11 asked Walcott if he would revisit school closures and co-locations that had parents furious. "No, not at all.” Walcott said.  “I was a part
of that and I am very comfortable with those decisions," said Walcott.

Not surprisingly, his answer did not settle well with one of the fiercest
anti-Cathie Black advocates in Brooklyn, Councilwoman Letitia James.

"As for Deputy Mayor Wolcott, unfortunately, the name will change, the person will change, but the policies won't and that's rather unfortunate.”


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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