Joel Klein has stepped down as schools chancellor to take a job with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. He will be replaced by magazine exec Cathie Black.
Say it ain't so, Joel!
Tell me you're not really stepping down as schools chancellor in the middle of the academic year to become a token Democrat in what truly is a vast right-wing conspiracy.
Tell me you are not signing on with a corporation that contributed $1.25 million to Republicans who consider school-funding cuts only necessary and tax cuts for the rich vital.
In taking the job with News Corp., Klein actually said, "I've long admired News Corporation's entrepreneurial spirit and Rupert Murdoch's fearless commitment to innovation."
What is Klein talking about, entrepreneurial spirit such as peddling the conservative agenda, at times with willful ignorance? Fearless commitment such as giving that $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association? The association's poster boy is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the Jason of school-budget slashing.
Klein also went on to say, "I am excited for the opportunity to be part of this team."
Klein added, "And to have the chance to bring the same spirit of innovation to the burgeoning education marketplace."
Not education. The educational marketplace. That means making money off school kids in times of budget cuts.
In the meantime, the chancellor's job goes to Cathie Black, who is said by the mayor to be a world-class manager, but has no experience as an educator.
Think of the public reaction if Bloomberg appointed a police commissioner who had no law enforcement background. Think of what it means to real educators when you say that running the schools is just a question of management, only with the widgets being kids instead of magazines.
Not that Black is less than competent. She was publisher of New York magazine when I worked there, and she seemed to do fine.
Murdoch was the owner, and I have to say he was more pleasant and egalitarian than many rich liberals. He would stride into the office without entourage, friendly and polite, in one friend's words "a treat."
He once offered me a lift in a cab during a downpour. That's more than I can say about a media millionaire from the vast left-wing conspiracy who once left me standing in the rain while he rode off in his limo.
That does not make News Corp.'s political agenda any less anathema to what Klein supposedly stood for as chancellor.
And it does not make Black any more qualified to be chancellor. Even a bigtime publisher has an easier task than a principal at your basic city grammar school.
I have to hope that Black would not take the job unless she was certain she is capable of doing right by our kids.
As for Klein, I had this sudden fantasy that he is secretly still doing Bloomberg's bidding in a covert scheme to educate those politicians of whom the mayor complained, "Look at who we're electing to Congress, to the Senate - they can't read."
A fair number of the newly elected illiterates were put in office with the help of Fox News. Imagine if Klein were infiltrating News Corp. with the aim of educating them.
Well, that won't happen, and Klein is not really an educator, anyway.
He is just a guy who had a big job who now has another big job.