Breaking: NYC Dept. of Education Chancellor Joel Klein Steps Down, Replaced by Cathie Black, Former Magazine Exec.

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At a press conference today, Joel Klein -- the chancellor of New York City's Department of Education announced that he is stepping down from his position, to be replaced by now-former Hearst chairperson Cathie Black. She is the second chancellor of New York City's Department of Education since the mayor's office took over, and the first woman to hold that position since.

Klein has served as chancellor since 2002, which was the point at which the state legislature turned over control of New York City's schools to the mayor's office. Via NY1:

According to the DOE website, the schools chancellor oversees over 1,600 schools, 136,000 employees and an operating budget of more than $21 billion.

Cathie Black -- formerly the Chairman of Hearst Magazines, and apparently dubbed the "First Lady of American Magazines" -- is taking the position after being asked to do so personally by Mayor Bloomberg.

At a press conference earlier today, Black delivered a canned speech, but one of the major points of which was the creation of 100 new charter schools in New York City over the next three years. When asked why he picked someone without a significant record with public education, Mayor Bloomberg responded:

"Cathy is a world-class manager, and she is uniquely qualified to take us in the direction people keep talking about: jobs, jobs, jobs. That is something Cathie Black knows about, as much as anybody in this room."

After getting the inevitable question about where her kids went to school, Black disclosed that they went to private boarding schools in Connecticut. She herself went to a parochial school in Chicago. When questioned on her relationships with unions and Klein's combative relationship with the New York City Teacher's Union, Bloomberg was quick to note that the first person Black met in education was Michael Mulgrew, the President of the United Federation of Teachers.

Klein, meanwhile, is leaving the job to go work for Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp as the executive vice president of the company.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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