Blocking the Waiver
November 10th, 2010

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg essentially has carte blanche in selecting a schools chancellor, the state Department of Education must weigh in by granting — or denyinh — a waiver to allow a person without education experience (three years of teaching and some graduate work in school administration) to get the job. Cathie Black, of course, falls way short.

In the day since Black’s announcement some education activists have launched an effort to try to persuade state education commissioner David Steiner to refuse the waiver.

Petitions have been posted on line, and some politicians have joined the call.

State Sen.-elect Tony Avella, never a fan of Klein, has written to Steiner urging him to deny the waiver. ” While I am sure Ms. Black is a very well qualified executive in the magazine industry, the top executive in the New York City school system should be an educator,” he said.

The Neighborhood Retail Alliance blog called for the legislature to hold hearings on Black’s appointment — and the Klein years too while theyre at it — before giving Black the green light.

State Assemblymember Marcos Crespo of the Bronx has asked Steiner to “clarify” what he termed “troubling issues,” such as the prerequisites are for being chancellor and what criteria there might be for waiving those requirements.

The Post strongly disagrees: “That waiver should be granted without undue delay of any sort, and certainly without interference — direct or otherwise — from the teachers union or others with axes to grind.” (The paper also says Black “fits the bill” as someone “capable of making policy,” though we’re not sure what evidence there is for that.)

Meanwhile, City Councilmember Jumaane Williams told The Politicker he will introduce a resolution (no force of law) calling on the state to deny the waiver. “She is not from the city, she hasn’t worked with any unions, her kids went to private school, she went to parochial school,” Williams said. “It’s like the mayor didn’t even try.”

(Or as Crain’s Insider put it: ” “It would have been hard for Mayor Mike Bloomberg to pick a schools chancellor less connected to the public school system than magazine publisher Cathie Black.”)

The Politicker reports several other council members have “expressed skepticism” about Black’s appointment. But any bets on whether Speaker Christine Quinn would challenge the mayor on something like this?

Whatever the merits of the arguments, few think the state block Black. ” It is likely that the mayor has already secured consent for Ms. Black’s waiver,” Henry Stern wrote, although he suggested Steiner “spend time talking to Cathie Black and exploring her attitude and rationale for taking the job.”

Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the State Board of Regents, left little doubt about where she would come down on the issue, telling City Hall, ” We just need to get through the technical aspects of the waiver and then we move on.” Although expressing surprise at Black’s appointment, Tisch said, “At the heart of mayoral control, I truly believe in allowing the mayor to make his choices.”

Writing in the Indypendent, John Tarleton took a cynical view: ” Most local electeds who have future political aspirations fear Mayor Bloomberg’s wealth, his connections and his influence over the citys daily press, especially the tabloids. They may squawk about a school closing here and a test score scandal there but mounting a direct challenge to Bloomberg on his signature issue is something they have shown little stomach for to date. ”

By on November 10, 2010, 10:28 pm
In category: Education,Eye on Albany | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Blocking the Waiver”

  1. Gerry Segal Says:
    November 11th, 2010 at 12:59 am

    In Education: Plus a change, plus c’est la mme chose

    I taught in the south Bronx 45 years ago. Same problems...different players. Nobody cares about the kids. This song I wrote in 1966 tells the whole story.

  2. L-Methionine %0B Says:
    January 27th, 2011 at 10:41 pm

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  3. pobierz Says:
    January 24th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment. Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

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