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Critics Protest Reported Deal To Name Black As Chancellor

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Cathie Black and Joel Klein (credit: AP)

Cathie Black and Joel Klein (credit: AP)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2/WCBS 880/1010 WINS) — Just days after a state panel recommended against it, published reports indicated that Cathie Black, a former executive with Hearst Media with no education experience, will be given a needed waiver to become the next New York City Schools Chancellor.

A source told the AP that the state’s Education Commissioner David Steiner will announce Monday that Black, even though she lacks the required educational background for the job, will receive the waiver to serve after an apparent compromise.

Sources said 38-year-old Shael Polakow-Suransky, a former teacher and a member of Klein’s Administration, will be appointed to serve as senior deputy chancellor and chief academic officer.

Reaction to the news has been mixed, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.

At a news conference Saturday morning held at P.S. 13. in East New York , various community leaders voiced their opposition to the reported deal.

Angry parents, educators and politicians — including City Councilman Charles Barron — stood outside the Brooklyn school to protest naming Black as schools chancellor, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall Reports

“Cathie Black is unqualified to teach in a classroom, nevertheless run the largest education system in the country,” Barron said.

Barron encouraged parents to take their kids out of public schools and put them into a home schooling program if Black does become chancellor, Hall reported.

“Because you manage magazines — that doesn’t mean you can manage 1,700 schools, 80,000 teachers [and] 1.1 million children,” Barron said.

“When you put a corporate person at the head of the public school system, you make a clear and unmistakable statement that corporations and profits are the priority as opposed to the education of our children,” parent Joyce Simmons said.

Barron also said the apparent deal to appoint a career educator as deputy chancellor is like hiring a babysitter for Black, 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reported.

“If you had someone driving a car without a license, they could not justify driving the car based on the fact that a passenger in the car has a license,” Assemblywoman Inez Barron said.

1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney reports

“[Parents] feel disrespected, it’s a slap in the face,” Barron said of the decision, “[parents] will not sit back and allow this to happen.”

“We’re not going to get disrespected anymore, enough is enough, and Cathie, you’re going down,” Brooklyn activist Inez Rodriguez said.

The United Federation of Teachers accepted the move, with its president, Michael Mulgrew, saying “we’ve worked well with Mr. Polakow-Suransky in the past, and we look forward to working with him and Ms. Black in the future on the critical issues the school system faces.”

Earlier this week, an advisory panel appointed to weigh Black’s qualifications, recommended she be denied a waiver allowing her to serve as chancellor. Steiner said he would take the recommendation under consideration, but also said he would consider granting it if she had a deputy with education experience.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was crying foul, saying in a statement “a ‘chief academic officer’ charged with responsibility to oversee teaching, learning and accountability? Isn’t that what the chancellor is supposed to do?”

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