Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cathie Black is the Head Cheese

In the classic Cheese Shop sketch by Monty Python, a hapless patron wants a bit of cheese. He asks the cheese shop owner, the jovial Mr. Wensleydale, whether he has any one of a staggering number of cheeses. Mr. Wensleydale doesn't have any. Then the duo conduct the following exchange (which you can catch at 4:30 of the video, although watching it all is a treat):

Patron: It's not much of a cheese shop, is it?
Mr. Wensleydale: Finest in the district, sir.
Patron: And what leads you to that conlusion?
Mr. Wensleydale: Well, it's so clean.
Patron: Well, it's certainly uncontaminated by cheese.

The joke, of course, is that the shop owner is covering up how worthless his store is by pointing out its cleanliness rather than its utility.

"Chancellor" Cathie Black is the Mr. Wensleydale of education. In an interview with the Daily News, "Chancellor" Black said she was "bowled over" by the cleanliness of the schools she visited. She is demonstrating, in no uncertain terms, how worthless her chancellorship will be. She could have talked about any one of the dozens of things that a person with a background in education would notice. Instead, here's how the interview with the "Chancellor" probably went:

Interviewer: Did you notice anything about curriculum?
Black: No.
Interviewer: Did you notice anything about learning environments?
Black: No..
Interviewer: Did you notice anything about the quality of instruction?
Black: Huh?
Interviewer: These school visits didn't teach you anything, did they?
Black: They were all wonderful schools!
Interviewer: And what leads you to that conclusion?
Black: Well, they're all so clean!

I don't know about clean, but they're certainly uncontaminated by chancellors who know what they hell they're doing.

And I won't even go into the incredibly condescending nature of her comments. What did Ms. Black think she was going to find in public schools? Landfills? Cooties?

Perhaps we should excuse her there. After all, she sent her own children to swanky private schools which were probably scrubbed clean by the kind of low wage workers she'd like to make out of the children of NYC. By firing experienced teachers, increasing class sizes, and doubling down on the failed Klein experiment, she'll have a virtually inexhaustible supply of menial workers for her rich friends.

But she still won't have any cheese.


Anonymous said...

The school I teach in is FILTHY! Gunk on the floors. Toilets runneth over with poo. Roaches. Stuff stuck to the walls.

Anonymous said...

I think you have to understand her perspective. We all know she has not been inside a public school and most probably has never been to queens or brooklyn. I am sure she was concerned that it would be dirty. Im glad she noticed that us non manhattan people can keep clean. Yay for the learning! What's next? Oh that thing up there people call the bronx. Go Cath!