New York Schools Consider Dr. Starr for Chancellor

MCPS Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr applied and was passed over for the New York City Public School Chancellor position, seemingly because he criticized some of President Barack Obama’s views on school reform.

When Dr. Starr visited Brooklyn, NY over the Thanksgiving holiday, there was much speculation as to whether he was simply enjoying his break by spending time with his wife’s family or whether his visit had another purpose. New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio was interviewing candidates for the New York City School Chancellor position at this time.

According to a Washington Post article by Valerie Strauss, this speculation was quite merited. Dr. Starr did apply for the position, and was even second in line for the job. Strauss stated that many believed that if Carmen Farina, who has decades of experience as a public school educator, had not come out of retirement to take on the job, Dr. Starr would have been the primary applicant.

Because of his views opposing Obama’s signature education program, Race to the Top, “U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and at least one other Education Department official urged New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and his team not to choose MCPS Superintendent Joshua P. Starr as the city’s next schools chancellor,” Strauss reported.

Junior Sushmitha Tamilselvan generally supports President Obama, but thinks that it is wrong for someone certified for a job to be rejected because of their political views.

“Nobody should be denied a job because of their political preferences. I think that Dr. Starr is a very good superintendent, and I would like him to stay with us, but sabotaging a job in that way is wrong,” Tamilselvan said.

Dr. Starr was a prime candidate for the job, as superintendent of one of the highest-achieving counties in the nation. His ideas about reforming schools are similar to those of de Blasio, and Starr has experience with higher involvement of New York schools, serving as city director of school performance and accountability.

Since New York City’s school system is the largest in the country, it is one that gets a lot of attention from government officials. Dr. Starr was later offered a secondary job in the department, and was told that if he took it, he would become chancellor within a few years. However, Dr. Starr declined the offer, choosing instead to remain MCPS superintendent.

This situation led some to worry about Dr. Starr’s dedication to his current job. However, MCPS Public Information Officer Dana Tofig released a statement from Dr. Starr assuring the public otherwise.

“I appreciate that my name was among those mentioned for the Chancellor’s position in New York City. I am very happy as the Superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools and look forward to working with the staff and community to provide all students with the skills and knowledge that will prepare them to succeed in their future,” Dr. Starr said in the statement.