Dear Commons Community,
Jessica Siegel, a colleague of ours at Brooklyn College, has an op-ed in today’s New York Daily News suggesting that mayor-elect Bill de Blasio seriously consider Kathleen Cashin for New York City Schools Chancellor. Siegel comments;
“Cashin, currently a New York State regent, is a 35-year veteran teacher, principal and district superintendent in the city schools. She has shown the ability to turn around struggling schools, a commitment to bucking the current test obsession — and a refreshing talent for engaging parents.
After an impressive educational career teaching and serving as a principal in middle-class areas of Brooklyn, in 1998 Cashin took charge of Community School District 23 in Ocean Hill-Brownsville. Despite initial resistance from the local school board because she was white, she won over the community.
She dismissed incompetent principals, established a consistent, rigorous curriculum and got down into the classroom level, observing teachers. Test scores rose; failure factories showed hope.
“We were successful in Brownsville because it was the parents, the teachers and the principals who were all pushing the same agenda,” she told a CUNY Graduate Center forum that I attended earlier this year. “If we taught a writing program in the schools, the parents were taught it at a retreat.”
I would second Siegel’s recommendation. While at Hunter College, colleagues and I worked with Dr. Cashin on several projects involving the professional development of aspiring principals. She was the consummate partner in our work: smart, passionate, and committed to the students and teachers in District 23.