"Un-waivering' Opposition to Black
November 28th, 2010

With education commissioner David Steiner apparently set to give in to Mayor Michael Bloomberg tomorrow and grant the waiver that will allow Cathleen Black to become schools chancellor, opponents of the appointment are scrambling to try to stop the move.

Earlier today, opponents gathered at Tweed Courthouse, education department headquarters, to urge Steiner to say no to Black, even though Bloomberg agreed to appoint a chief academic officer to make up for Black’s alleged deficiencies.

Three members of the State Assembly — Marcus Crespo, Hakeem Jeffries and Vanessa Gibson– have written to Gov. David Paterson asking that he put a bill aimed at preventing the appointment on the calendar for this week’s special legislative session. The bill would require that the legislature approve any waiver approved by the education commissioner. (Appointee to certain education posts needs waivers when like Black, they lack advanced degrees and/or education experience.)

Given that Paterson last week urged Bloomberg to accept the deal that seemingly has led to the waiver, this seems, at best, a thin straw.

City Councilmember Charles Barron have said he will go to court to seek a temporary restraining order that would prevent Black from becoming chancellor, at least temporarily.

“We question the legality of her riding on someone else’s credentials,” Barron said in Brownsville on Saturday.

Jeffries has reportedly spoken with lawyers as well.

Many of the same people who circulated the original petition opposing Black’s waiver — which garnered some 13,000 signatures — now are passing around a new version. Addressing the more recent developments, it says, ” We do not believe that simply requiring that the mayor appoint a ďa chief academic officerĒ with an education background as her top aide is good enough.”

Meanwhile, another report indicates that Black’s experience with public schools is (if possible) even less than claimed. Black, it has been widely written, serves on the board of Harlem Village Academies. But, the Daily News writes that that job has no educational content — the board is primarily a fundraising tool. And the school’s funding challenges have little in common with those of the system she will, it seems, soon run. Itís leader, for example makes $442,000 a year compared with the $250,000 the city pays its chancellor.

By on November 28, 2010, 7:01 pm
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