Test for Schools Chief

April 28, 2011  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — As deputy mayor, Dennis Walcott would walk around during the often-contentious Panel for Educational Policy meetings every month, milling about the boisterous crowd and sometimes refereeing fights at the public microphone.  Thursday night will be his first PEP meeting as New York’s schools chancellor, and with it, the public’s first chance to see if Mr. Walcott carries that informal style into his new position.  “You never know what I’m liable to do,” he said, hinting that there may be some changes to the meeting. “I’m not a traditionally bound person as far as how business has been done at the panel meeting before.” He said he toured the school where the meeting will take place, at Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights Campus, “just to get a feel of the school and see what it looked like and absorb the dynamics of the auditorium.”  It was at a PEP meeting that his predecessor, Cathleen Black, ran into trouble, mocking angry parents who booed her—one misstep in a series that led to her ouster earlier this month after just three months in the job. Former Chancellor Joel Klein caught flak for typing on his BlackBerry as parents voiced their complaints at meetings.

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