Playbook: New school chief a testing skeptic

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THE NEW TEAM – “Carmen Farina to be named D.O.E. chancellor,” by Eliza Shapiro: “Carmen Farina, a Department of Education veteran and a longtime informal advisor to Bill de Blasio, will be named chancellor [today] after months of speculation about who would manage the city’s school system. De Blasio will name Farina head of the nation's largest public school system at M.S. 51, the Park Slope middle school his children attended. Friends and colleagues of Farina and de Blasio say they share a single educational philosophy, with a focus on progressive education, a skepticism of standardized testing and charter schools, and a focus on racially and economically integrated public schools. Farina … is 71 and retired from the D.O.E in 2006 …

“[S]he'll face the immediate challenge of overseeing the negotiation of a contract with the United Federation of Teachers … Farina is well-known for her focus on professional development, which both advocates for and critics of the Common Core agree is needed to improve outcomes on the Common Core-aligned curricula and exams. … As a teacher and administrator, Farina was known for her focus on creating literary-focused curricula, teaching students about Civil War history by having them read historical novels from the time period, or visiting the Brooklyn Museum to look at Civil War-era art.” http://goo.gl/xE7y7f

--N.Y. Times’ Javier C. Hernández, with Al Baker: “Fariña … [is] the daughter of immigrants from Spain who fled the Franco regime, is a veteran of the city’s school system, having served as a teacher, principal and superintendent of a Brooklyn school district. She retired as a deputy chancellor … The choice reflected Mr. de Blasio’s desire to depart radically from the educational policies of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, including his emphasis on data and his policy of shuttering low-performing schools. …

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“As a principal and superintendent, Ms. Fariña gained a reputation as a stern manager. She worked briefly as a top official in the Education Department early in the Bloomberg administration, overseeing teaching and learning, but departed amid philosophical differences. … In a 1999 interview, she recalled being the only Spanish-speaking student in kindergarten at St. Charles Borromeo, a parochial school in Brooklyn.” http://goo.gl/p3ddBr

--De Blasio appoints Zachary Carter as corp counsel,” by Capital’s Laura Nahmias: “Former Eastern District U.S. attorney Zachary W. Carter will become the city’s next corporation counsel, replacing Michael Cardozo as the city’s top lawyer … Carter, who will head up an office of 700 attorneys, will be instrumental in implementing some of the new mayor’s key campaign promises, including dropping the appeal in the … ‘stop-and-frisk’ case and settling the Central Park five lawsuit. … De Blasio called the corporation counsel's job one of the city's ‘most central roles’ and ‘the conscience for the rest of the government.’” http://goo.gl/P6EZCU

--Capital’s TRANSITION TRACKER shows appointments at a glance. http://goo.gl/IXMrzc

CLYDE HABERMAN’S LAST COLUMN—The veteran Timesman writes on Twitter that this week’s “Breaking Bread” column with WNYC morning host Brian Lehrer will “regrettably” be his last. Haberman started at the paper in 1977, and after five years on the metro beat became a foreign correspondent in Tokyo, Rome and Jerusalem.

--The last lunch interview with Lehrer -- Haberman says he can lay claim to being “the voice of New York” -- revealed Lehrer’s tricks for a probing interview and maintaining his voice against cold, flu and other dangers. http://goo.gl/VMQ9XW

TRENDING ONLINE – KABC-TV: “‘Good Morning America’ co-anchor Robin Roberts publicly came out as gay in a Facebook post on Sunday. In the Facebook post, Roberts remembers the one-year anniversary of reaching 100 days after her bone marrow transplant. … The post is the first time she's made public mention of her girlfriend, Amber Laing, a massage therapist from the San Francisco Bay Area. … ABC News' Jeffrey W. Schneider released a statement Sunday: ‘We love Robin and Amber, who we have all known for a long time. We were so touched by Robin's Facebook message today and so thankful for all the incredible support she has in her life.’ The couple has been together for a decade.” http://goo.gl/SjGd0m

--From her Facebook post: “I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health. I am grateful for my sister, Sally-Ann, for being my donor and giving me the gift of life. I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.” http://goo.gl/79Hia7

BUILDING BLOCKS: Our daily real-estate section -- “De Blasio Plan to Use NYC Pension for Housing Faces Tests,” by Bloomberg’s Martin Z. Braun: “de Blasio’s plan to pump $1 billion of New York’s $144 billion in pension assets into apartments for poor and working-class residents faces constraints including competition from banks and declining federal aid. … De Blasio’s plan calls for building 50,000 new units through a policy called mandatory inclusionary zoning. Real estate developers would be required to create residences for low- and middle-income families in order to build in neighborhoods rezoned for higher density. … De Blasio’s plan requires the support of incoming Comptroller Scott Stringer, a Democrat, and more than 40 trustees representing public employees and borough presidents.” http://goo.gl/MF9GPe

NEW YORKER CARTOON: The issue out today includes a drawing of a roaring dragon towering over a suspension bridge, ripping the cables apart and sending a car plummeting into the water. One trucker on the bridge says to another: “I heard he used to work for Christie.”

TOMORROW IS NEW YEAR’S EVE – “Justice Sotomayor to Push Button Lowering Times Square Ball on New Year's Eve,” by NY1 News: “Supreme Court justice and Bronx native Sonia Sotomayor will push the ceremonial button lowering the Times Square Ball … Sotomayor will also lead the crowd in a 60-second countdown.” http://goo.gl/iZtjEi

--The Mayor puts a final stamp on the festivities: Citi Bikes are powering the 30,000 LEDs on the Times Square Ball. The Citi Bike Pedal Power Station in Times Square held six stationery Citi Bikes that people rode to generate energy that was stored in 12-volt batteries. That energy was transferred to the New York City power grid to offset the 50,000 watts of energy needed to light the New Year’s Eve Ball. Participants received a free Citi Bike day pass.

--Bloomberg departs City Hall for the last time at 4:45 p.m. Staffers, supporters invited: http://goo.gl/7p8Jw4

**From the National Retail Federation: We asked New Yorkers how many retail positions they could name in ten seconds. Here’s how they did. http://bit.ly/1ev8NTg **

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BIG DAY for TV birthdays: Meredith Vieira is 60, Matt Lauer is 56 and Sean Hannity is 52.

“PAGE SIX” -- “Media bigs seek surf at Viceroy Anguilla”: “Our spies have spotted Les Moonves and his wife, Julie Chen, Leonard Lauder, Cablevision/MSG boss Jim Dolan, Stephanie Winston Wolcott, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, TV producer Marci Klein, Fox News contributor John Stossel, power lawyer Allen Grubman and his daughter, power publicist Lizzie Grubman, and Viceroy owner Barry Sternlicht on and around the property. Our spies describe the atmosphere as more family-friendly than other New Year’s Eve hotspots: ‘Everyone’s kids are running around.’” www.pagesix.com

THE DAILY NEWS posted a slide show of the paper’s 40 favorite covers from 2013, including the Ed Koch tribute: “YOU DONE GOOD.” http://goo.gl/qR7iz6

FLASHBACK: In the Times’ 2009 endorsement of Bloomberg, the word “homeless” does not appear; the word “frisk” is used once. http://goo.gl/bJBPnG

WHAT’S IT GOING TO COST to lose Michael Bloomberg? And does it really mean no more free pizza? -- Capital’s Sally Goldenberg: Bloomberg will remain chairman of National Sept. 11 Memorial Fund, where he raised $450 million in private donations. But he’s also used his fortune to bankroll some city programs, travel expenses for himself and staff. He even paid for City Hall employees to eat while at work, and once splurged “$1,026 on pizza for high school valedictorians and their families who joined him to push the button on New Year's Eve” his former spokesman said. Who’ll pay those bills now? http://goo.gl/jSZZVP

--The Times calculates Bloomberg spent $650 million on being mayor: http://goo.gl/pCgj8u

2014 PREDICTION OF THE DAY: “Bill of Rights fans won't pine for Bloomberg; Hillary and Jeb will stall as Cuomo defends himself. http://bit.ly/1fUa6ZT”-- @DanJanison

KEEPING TABS: @Grynbaum: Are we nearing point of consensus on "BLAZ" as official tabloid shorthand for @BilldeBlasio? http://goo.gl/WmZXiL

BEHIND THE VIDEO -- “De Blasio: He, wife paid for daughter Chiara's video,” by Newsday’s Emily Ngo: “de Blasio and his wife paid for the production of the Christmas Eve video message in which their teenage daughter [Chiara de Blasio, 19] admits to a history of substance abuse, … he said [at a news conference] … John Del Cecato produced the video, de Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell later said. Del Cecato … has produced ads for … Obama and produced a campaign spot featuring de Blasio's son, Dante. … de Blasio said his spokeswoman Lis Smith remains with his transition team, but is on vacation.” http://goo.gl/AJ6sN6

--“CONTROLLING THE NARRATIVE” -- USA Today 1A tease to Michael Wolff column on “Money” section front, “With video, de Blasios control the story: In social media age, celebs, corporations must learn to get personal”: “Last week, in a breakthrough example of this new communications form, … [t]he de Blasio camp both owned up to this potentially negative revelation and, with their video treatment, owned it. … So, a big win for controlling the narrative. … Chiara de Blasio didn't read a statement. She spoke, as though spontaneously, without a script, in natural teenage language. … The Chiara de Blasio video is a succinct demonstration of all that's changing in the world of marketing, advertising and media — that complex of industries that once had formal control of the narrative.” http://goo.gl/VrMyas

SNEAK PEEK – The Nation is publishing its next issue early, ahead of de Blasio’s inauguration. We have a first look at the package, which has some astute angles on the incoming mayor:

--“The Zeitgeist Tracked Down Bill de Blasio,” by Bob Master, Northeast political director for the Communications Workers of America: “[T]he de Blasio moment reflects something deeper than shifting generational political allegiances or a delayed backlash against the Democratic Party’s Wall Street love affair. It represents a potentially profound challenge to the dominant economic policy arguments of the last two generations, a long overdue electoral response to the corporate offensive launched by the global elite in the mid-1970s.”

--“How Bill de Blasio Changed the Conversation About Education,” by Betsy Reed, executive editor of The Nation: “Elite media will remain elite media, and breathless stories about the private kindergarten rat race will continue to draw readers. But people appear to be waking up to the fact that Bloomberg’s gilded city neglected to provide basic social services alongside the refurbished parks and gleaming condo towers, giving New York more the appearance than the reality of ‘livability.’ Whether or not de Blasio is able to persuade Albany to go along with his plans, at least he’s nudged the media conversation about family life in a new direction—closer to the one most of us were having all along.”

--“Will New York City Lead the Way on Pre-K?” by Dana Goldstein, Puffin Foundation writing fellow at The Nation Institute: “If Albany cooperates on funding—either through the income tax or some other mechanism—there will be at least two major challenges that remain. The first is real estate: there is simply not enough space in existing public school buildings and community organizations to serve tens of thousands of additional kids. … The second challenge will be guaranteeing that the new pre-K seats are high-quality ones. A lot of that has to do with training and supporting the early childhood workforce, which is disproportionately female.”

Articles are scheduled to post at about 10 a.m. www.thenation.com

SPEAKER STAKES – WSJ A19 (N.Y. cover), “All-Out Bid To Change Speaker Vote,” by Michael Howard Saul: “More than a week after East Harlem Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito declared victory, her chief rival, Council Member Dan Garodnick of the East Side, has launched an aggressive campaign to flip a handful of her supporters … Some council members have indicated their willingness to switch, … people familiar with his coalition said. … The [new council elects a speaker on] Jan. 8 … Rep. Joe Crowley, the Queens County Democratic Party chairman who is backing Mr. Garodnick, said Ms. Mark-Viverito's list of 30 supporters is ‘softer than they've led people to believe. … This is a very fluid race.’” http://goo.gl/7Jpb6I

CAPITOL MOVES: Jeremy Creelan is departing the Cuomo administration to return to his old law firm.

-- Post columnist Fred Dicker, citing “Democratic insiders,” says Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing for Garodnick. http://goo.gl/OrFWEV

CORRUPTION PROBE REVERSAL -- Capital’s Jimmy Vielkind: Assemblyman Tony Jordan, a Republican who will step down from his legislative post at year's end to become Washington County's district attorney, has dropped a challenge to the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption's request for documents relating to his law firm, Jordan & Kelly. Jordan was one of more than a dozen lawmakers challenging similar subpoenas, which sought details on exactly what state legislators were doing in their outside jobs. http://goo.gl/baUEQe

CHUCK GETS ACTION — Daily News’ Reuven Blau: New York’s senior senator has gotten some sort of federal action, albeit sometimes limited, for 20 of his 35 different causes highlighted at weekend press gatherings this year. That’s a 57% victory rate — with several causes still pending or not easily measurable. http://goo.gl/BBa8A5

THE TALK OF WALL STREET – “Big year ends with Wall St hopeful for 2014,” by Reuters’ Ryan Vlastelica: “Economic growth is expected to accelerate next year … But … that may not translate to market gains as dramatically as in 2013. … The S&P 500 has risen 29 percent so far in 2013, its best annual performance since 1997. … The latest Reuters poll showed analysts expect the S&P 500 to rise to 1,925 points by the end of 2014, which represents a rise of 4.5 percent from current levels. … Netflix Inc was the S&P's strongest performer in 2013, with a jump of almost 300 percent, followed by … Best Buy Co Inc and semiconductor maker Micron Tech, both of which climbed nearly 240 percent. Tesla Motors was another standout, soaring 346 percent, while Facebook Inc more than doubled.” http://goo.gl/RSCrDw

THE HOME TEAMS -- Capital’s Howard Megdal: Giants 20, Redskins 6: Giants finished 7-3 after the 0-6 start, and got to wave goodbye to soon-to-be ex-Redskins coach Mike Shanahan in the process.

--Jets 20, Dolphins 7: If a Super Bowl, or even the playoffs, can't happen, a win to save Rex Ryan's job and knock the Dolphins out of the playoff chase isn't a bad consolation prize.

--The Knicks and Nets were off after a pair of non-competitive losses to the Raptors and Pacers, respectively.

--The Mets remain in contact with free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, according to Newsday's Marc Carig. Their interest is reportedly akin to their pursuit last year of Michael Bourn, an outfielder who signed with the Indians without the Mets making him an offer.

#UpstateAmerica: WATERPORT – A cat climbed to the top of a telephone pole in Waterport two days ago and has been stuck up there since, unable to get down. http://goo.gl/2PSnSv

**From the National Retail Federation: You’ve heard the mantra, “The customer is always right.” Shoppers want quicker access to products, smarter shopping through mobile, and better customer experience. And our members – retail businesses, large and small – are responding through innovative technology and smart business practices. Here’s what Starbucks’ Howard Schultz, Whole Foods’ Walter Robb, STORY’s Rachel Shechtman and Warby Parker’s Neil Blumenthal think about the future of the industry. Watch the video: http://bit.ly/18FgftY

The most innovative retail brands in the business will gather in New York City, January 12-15, for Retail’s BIG Show. See who’s attending and what they’re talking about. #thisisretail **