This guy should be laughed out of anything to do with teaching or teaching administration.
It's part of the ongoing joke known as New York City Department of Education.
The Mayor has full control on all of it. There's technically a panel, but the majority of votes come from people he appoints.
At any rate, back to Walcott. Walcott replaces a newspaper/magazine woman by the name of Cathie Black (she was a Hearst Chairperson) She lasted a few months. She had no experience in the education system, solely in media. Bloomberg decided she could fix the failing system with her business sense. She made a few major gaffes and was disliked by almost everyone. Ms.Black replaced Joel Klein who had been around for years and although not a complete failure, he didn't take the system forward. He ended up resigning (HA!) and being placed in a news corporation with ties to Bloomberg.
Walcott was already a Bloomberg flunky, he'd been Deputy Mayor from early on and had already learned to say "yes sir, no sir, right away sir" to whatever Bloomberg ordered. He does hold a degree in education and in his favor had sent his children to the public schools. His teaching career was that of teaching kindegarten for 2 years. He had been a spokesperson as Deputy Mayor for years helping out in tense situations, and as I indicated he jumps as high as Bloomberg orders.
The educational mess of New York is unbelievable. Bloomberg has done things which have clearly failed.
He instituted a plan whereby students who did not do well enough on standardized tests in grades 3 and 8 would be held back. He then soon after boasted how test grades had risen for those grades....um, yeah...the student is going over the same work again so they might well get a better grade, thus bringing the overall average up.
He is also into school grades which are kind of meaningless and useless and another part of his comedy act.
If a school receives a D or an F they face closure. However there seems to be little rhyme or reason to how this is done. Schools have gone from C to D and stayed at the D, then dropped to an F and are still open. Other schools go up from an F, to a D and he shuts them down. Some are closed as soon as they hit the list, others stay on for a while. It's probably a political matter.
School closures help Bloomberg look like a good man, because he then can boast about opening new schools. It's essentially the same school, just with a different name or number. In some cases he has closed a school and there are now 3 or 4 schools in the building. I think it's more a matter of playing with words. In the high schools where he's made 1 into more, they (all the 'schools') share the cafeteria and the gymnasium sometimes at the same time.
Recently a personal side of the Bloomberg atrocities came in front of me.
Several years ago, we were hanging out on Staten Island. I was placed in P.S.14, The Vanderbilt School. A nice little place, just blocks from a recently torched brewery.
At the time, the school was a top place. Good grades, middle class families sent their children there. The area has changed. The school dropped and dropped and dropped until it was done for. It holds the significance of being the first school on Satan's Island to be shut down.
Not to worry! It's a slow phase out. In September it will have a new section, P.S.78. Same location and the students will be in the same building and some students currently in P.S.14 will still be in....you guessed it, the failing school, P.S.14, with several of the old teachers and possibly the same principal. The new part, P.S.78 will have all new teachers and a different principal.
The new principal scares me: http://www.silive.com/northshore/index.ssf/2012/03/principal_of_ps_78_to_take_roo.html
Of course Bloomeberg hasn't addressed the economic downward spiral of the Stapleton neighborhood.
While I was going there, the housing projects were being built. They added plenty of students. Tracts of land were bought and filled with attached and semi-attached homes. Stores left the area (as I indicated earlier, the brewery was torched about then. It had shut its doors so it wasn't eating into jobs).
More students, more people, less money...nowhere in any of the Bloomberg changes of schools does he address the underlying problems which led to school failure.
One other thing. Of this years schools listed for 'closure', several were ones which Bloomberg himself had had opened under his genius plan. It's no wonder he now has to send Mr.Walcott out to scream about terrible words on tests.