Schools Chancellor Cathie Black is struggling badly to win over the hearts and minds of New Yorkers, but an exclusive NY1/Marist College poll finds that when it comes to the schools themselves, many parents are pleased. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Cathie Black's rough start as schools chancellor is not getting any better. In fact, her approval rating is even worse than it was earlier this year, just a few weeks after she started her new job.
An exclusive NY1-Marist Poll finds that just 17 percent of voters think Black is doing an excellent or a good job. That's down from January, when 21 percent of voters said they approved of the job she was doing.
The number of respondents who think she is doing a fair or poor job has also increased to 63 percent, compared to 54 percent in January.
The former Hearst Magazines chairwoman took heat from the beginning of her tenure over her lack of education credentials.
Gaffes, like in February when she mocked an angry crowd at a schools meeting, have also not helped her win over the public.
"Not a good picture in terms of trying to get the kind of passing grades she would want to get from New York voters," says NY1/Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff. "So this has not been a success to this point."
New Yorkers were more willing to give higher marks to the city's schools, and the grades were even better among public school parents, .
While 38 percent of city residents say the schools in their community are excellent or good, when New Yorkers with children in public schools were asked the same question, 53 percent gave the schools a favorable rating.
"The folks who are actually more connected to the school system give it a much better grade than city residents as a whole," says Miringoff.
When it comes to the teachers union, which has battled with Mayor Michael Bloomberg in recent months, a majority of New Yorkers say they think the union does more good than harm.
They also say public school teachers just do not get the respect they used to. About 65 percent of city residents say teachers get less respect now than they did when they were in school. A mere 7 percent say teachers get more.
As for Cathie Black's efforts to get a little respect from the public, there is one upside to her abysmal approval rating. It will be hard for Black to fall much further.
The survey of 772 New York City adults was conducted on March 22-24, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points.