Red Aagainst Black
December 2nd, 2010

Cathie Black may have her waiver and be making her stealth tour of the city schools, but an array of diehard opponents still hope they can prevent her from occupying the chancellor’s office at Tweed Courthouse come Jan. 3.

A group of education activists,, some elected officials and parents — many wearing red, which has been adopted at the color of the opposition — stood at the Tweed Courthouse steps this evening to protests, Black’s appointment and what they decried as the arrogance of the mayor who appointed her and the spinelessness (actually Councilmember Jumaane Williams implied another part of Steiner’s anatomy was missing) of the man who approved that appointment — state education commissioner David Steiner.

Attorney Roger Wareham said he was filing suit in Albany in an effort to block the waiver that Steiner gave Black, who needed the special permission because of her lack of education experience or training. Meanwhile Noah Gotbaum of the Deny the Waiver Coalition said it had hired noted civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel to explore other possible legal avenues.

Ridiculing Steiner’s allowing Black to become chancellor after the city agreed to appointing an education deputy, Assemblywoman Inez Barron said, “We cannot have a person driving a car say to the police officer, ‘It’s OK. One of my passengers has a license.'”

Many of those in the crowd and the speakers, expressed sharp disagreement with the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s school agenda, which, they charged, had turned children into “test-taking widgets,” resulted in privatization of public schools and led to financial abuses, such as no-bid contracts. And while Assemblymember Charles Barron noted a broad cross section of New Yorkers opposed Black (something polls seem to confirm) the appointment of a rich, white woman with no apparent knowledge of the public schools clearly rankled many in the crowd.

“C is for Crony,” one placard read. City Councilmember Charles Barron went through a list of recent chancellors and concluded that the black and Latino ones all had education experience and the white ones did not. “How come all the black and Latino chancellors have to be impeccably qualified, and white ones need a waiver?” he asked rhetorically.

Another speaker asked if Black would bring a boarding school system to the public schools, a reference to the $40,000 a year prep schools Black’s two children attended.

The policy of the Bloomberg administration toward parents and teachers on education, said Patrick Sullivan, a member of the Council for Educational Policy, ” is one of condescension.”

As the speaker vowed to fight on, Barron announced a series of further protests next week culminating in a demonstration near the homes of Bloomberg, Steiner and Black the following week. And, in case anyone missed the point, he noted that all of them live on the Upper East Side.

By on December 2, 2010, 6:23 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Civil Rights,Education | Comments Off on Red Aagainst Black

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