Many of us may be happy to see the departure of Chancellor Goldstein, who has done more to abrogate faculty power than any Chancellor in recent history. While his departure may be welcome to some, do we really have confidence in the current membership of the Board of Trustees who will pick his replacement? Goldstein’s departure seems timed in part to insure that Board Chairman, and fellow architect of the Chancellor’s agenda, Benno Schmidt, will play a central role in choosing his successor. Schmidt’s term on the Board is up this summer, but the Board will be choosing an interim Chancellor later this spring.
In addition, the timing of the Chancellor’s departure seems designed to preserve a major role for our billionaire mayor in choosing a new chancellor. This is disturbing news, given the mayor’s record in K-12. Does this mean we can expect more “education reforms” designed to facilitate additional budget cuts? Will this usher in an even greater role for the Gates Foundation and other groups who want to “enhance performance” by reducing faculty power, homogenizing and digitizing the curriculum, and reducing standards, a la Pathways?
And who will be left at CUNY Central to help guide a new Chancellor? The two top administrators are Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Alexandra “Lexa” Logue, chief implementer of Pathways and architect of the shadow system of centrally appointed committees that bypass governance and Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Allan Dobrin, who brought us the boondoggle that is CUNY First.
The Chancellor’s resignation presents an opportunity to clean house. We need a new Board of Trustees whose primary concern is providing the best possible education to working and middle class New Yorkers, not a group of political hacks, self-interested “reformers,” and champions of corporate, top-down authoritarianism. The terms of several Board members expire this year including Schmidt, Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, Frida Foster, and Charles Shorter. Mayor Bloomberg should leave the mayoral appointed positions vacant, so that the new mayor can fill them, and Governor Cuomo should bring in new Trustees, with real qualifications.