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Politics & Current Affairs

Dennis Walcott: Educational Leader

Just after ascending to the head of the nation’s largest school system amid a leadership crisis, Mr. Walcott worked to improve the system with school visits and contact with unions. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Parents, educators and advocates were shocked when Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed a publishing executive with no education experience to head New York’s school system. After Dennis Walcott took over her post, he began to see his role as building a coalition of support for the district’s education policies. “His biggest achievement, he said in an interview Tuesday, was helping to avert teacher layoffs in a deal with the United Federation of Teachers. The deal came Friday after he personally went to union headquarters…”

What’s the Big Idea?

Can meaningful change be made without offending people? Even if it can’t, Mr. Walcott is determined to try. “…many see Mr. Walcott’s style of smoothing feathers, nurturing relationships and promoting stability as its own kind of policy statement… Mr. Walcott said the shift to actually running the school system and its 143,000 workers after nearly a decade of overseeing it as deputy mayor felt profound, even though his new office is a three-minute walk from the old one and he has the same boss.”


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