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Why Won't New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black Talk to the Press?

On her first day on the job, Cathie Black barely talked to reporters. Now her office won't respond to press requests about her schedule. What gives?

Given that she comes from a media background you would think the Chancellor-designee of New York City's public schools, former Hearst Magazines Chairman Cathie Black, would be comfortable talking to the press. But on her first day on the job, Black barely spoke to reporters, and side-stepped more substantive questions from a crowd of parents. Now Black's office reportedly isn't responding to requests from New York City media about her schedule and public appearances.

According to the New York Daily News, the city's education department press secretary Natalie Ravitz said they wouldn't reveal Black's schedule because:


...part of being chancellor is visiting schools and talking with principals, teachers, and parents openly and candidly about what is happening in their school community. Having TV cameras and reporters there is often not conducive to such an open and honest exchange. So there will be public visits and private visits.

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The trend of hiding Black from the press and the public began after her controversial appointment three weeks ago by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Black has yet to give a public speech about what she will do for New York's 1.1 million school children, and has yet to respond to critics who say she's unqualified for the job because she has zero education experience.

Black's Tuesday visit to Sedgwick School, Public School 109, in the Bronx to read to a group of first graders didn't silence concerns. According to The New York Times, when parent Nicole Bush yelled a question to Black about privatization of New York's public schools, Black replied, “I’m not going to comment on specific things this morning; it is my first day. And so I’ll get to understand that all of these things are very important and challenging questions, and we will come up with what we believe are the right answers.”

In the meantime, a small group of parents and teachers spent Tuesday calling attention to Black's lack of education know-how by staging a protest at her old stomping grounds, the Hearst Corporation headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. Five of the protesters even applied for Black's former job.

After turning in her application, New York parent Gloria Mattera told reporters, "You will see if you review my resume that I am absolutely unqualified to run a publishing company, which is exactly what Cathie Black is to run the NYC Public School system."

Photo (cc) by Flickr user GothamSchools

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Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

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God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

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