Critics Protest Reported Deal To Name Black As Chancellor

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?”

More from Sophia Hall
  • Barry

    Here! Here! My Vote!

  • Robert

    If Ms. Black was a minoritiy, hes supposed lack of qualifications wouldn’t matter one iota to Charles Barron. All those “qualified” folks who did such a bang-up job of running the school system……better not give Cathie Black a chance to mess up the well run school system…

  • a certified teacher

    A very sad day in NYC, indeed. And NOT a model for any nation.

  • margaretl

    Commissioner Steiner’s address:

    New York State Education Department
    89 Washington Avenue
    Albany, New York 12234

    (518) 474-3852

  • M Nichols

    This is just a repudiation of education as a truly serious career on so many levels. Education courses are not panaceas but they do serve some purpose and they could always be made more rigorous, as other professionals have become more rigorous as well. This just tells everyone don’t waste your time on an educational career. And of course kids can pick up on this too. Very sad. On some level public education is truly being dismantled in front of our eyes all in the name of saving it.

  • BC

    By the way, this is how King Mike will afford to pay Cathie Black:

  • BC

    This city is supposedly trying to cut its payroll, but yet Bloomberg hires not one, but TWO executives to run the school system?! On top of that, the number one person is NOT qualified! Why hire Cathie Black in the first place, King Mike? Hire Polakow-Suransky, and let Cathie fend for herself. Hey Mike! When will you realize that the rules that apply to the boardroom do NOT apply to the classroom?! The children who fill our schools are STUDENTS, not customers!

  • maddawg

    The “Puppert Master” strikes again, surrounding himself with hand picked “YES” man/women.

  • BS Meter

    The Mayor’s guy in Albany — for control over the school system?.. (read up)

  • nathan

    She hasn’t had a day on the job and you already want her fired. Bitter much ?

  • sharon wolff

    I totally agree with Barron and Black’s lack of running a school system. However, now the UFT is on board with her, can only mean a “backroom deal” has been given. Sickening politics. Bloomberg I am beginning to dislike you more and more.

  • Miri

    Outrageous. It,s not just that she lacks “education” credentials.
    She has no educational credentials. Her lady’s BA in English would not allow her to continue as a teacher beyond five years.
    How can you have someone running an edeucational system who disdains education.
    At least Klein was an educated person. She,s an overprivilerged socialite who started life on 3rd base and made it home using ” The Devil Wears Prada” management techniques.

  • Robert A B Sawyer

    Of course Ms. Black was “enthusiastic,” she was essentially fired by Hearst and had no place left to go. As for the Mayor’s behavior, dismissing it as typical is not particularly useful. The man’s self regard is a kind of pollution. His belief in the soundness of his judgment in all things would be risible if he didn’t have the money to pay off the people who should be most critical of him. I’m not normally a fan of Mr. Barron, but here I find myself in complete agreement with the man. Well done, sir. Mr. Stringer cries “foul,” but really he meant foul, as in the stench of contempt that the mayor holds for almost every one of us.

  • The Truth

    Listen up. She is being brought in to set up the dismantling of the school system. They want to move towards Charter Schools. Of course she is totally unqualified but most statue figures are. Watch behind the scenes because the moment a crisis appears shes will simply say I don’t know. Of course the teachers union also brings it upon themselves so this is what you get. BTW let Meliisa Petro teach.Its her past and look at the other roaches like Spitzer and Rangel who get off the hook. At least she knows more than Black about teaching! Enough said no?

  • Chris

    This sickens me. Steiner should not have granted the waiver. But if he did grant it, it should have been without meaningless strings attached. Having a number two with education credentials is meaningless. Obviously Ms. Black will have subordinates with educational credentials.

    I wonder if Ms. Black will grant waivers to all the teachers who have to get meaningless masters degrees? I am very upset the AFT is going along with this.

    The whole thing is shameful. Obviously there are two sets of rules. One for the connected and one for everyone else.

  • FrankMacc

    News stories say that Ms. Black picked her assistant. How does someone without education credentials get to pick an educational leader?
    This individual is largely responsible for the School Report Card fiasco and is most responsible for failing to recognize the sham test scores. He will spend so much time defending the poor work he has done so far that Ms. Black won’t have to worry about checking in with him on any issue.

  • TrainerCAry

    These politicians had their way with our education system in the 70s-80s-90s, appointed so-called “professional educators” who ran the school system into the ground. Bloomberg and Klein turned it around. I trust him and say give him and Cathie Black a chance. She is one of the most talented female CEOs in the country.

    • art

      It was the courts and politicians that ran the schools into the ground. Teachers were handcuffed both in the way they could teach and in disciplining the students in any way. The NYC schools were the crown jewel of public educational systems in the country till the mid 70’s. I might add that professors in their ivory towers also had a hand in destroying the public schools.

    • name witheld

      It is not Kathy Black who is going to run the affairs of the Educational System in the city but Mr Shael Polakow-Suransky who is more qualified for the job will be appointed to assist her to perform her job. . If that being the case why can’t the position be given to the Deputy than to hire two people to perform the same job? This will save New Yorkers more money. I don’t not know why the Mayor will always get his way to abuse the system. by imposing his will on the people of the City. He supported the Term Limit but when it passed into law andt when it was time for him to vacate he used his money to change the law into his favor. After the election he reverted back to support the same law that he changed. He proposed to imposed taxes on vehicles entering Manhattan but for the strong objections of some sane minds in the City Council he would have got his way, Ever since this Mayor came to Ooffice everything in the City has gone up about 120%.without thinking about the plight of the poor. citizens in city. Why should this happen? Is it because he has more money to bribe his way out? One can cite many instances where he breeched the laws of the City into his favor, because of his money. People who should know better to oppose him always turned their heads and said nothing.

    • ave

      we do not need CEOs heading the school system; The school system needs a dedicated strong public servant with an educational background not a bon vivant w/o a single day of public service.

  • pat

    I wonder how much did it cost for this sudden “chang of mind” by state education commissioner ? Remember Santa Bloomie keeps a list and checks it twice.

  • Rev al

    Ms. Black is not black! This is why i oppose her becoming a new chancler…how can a white person run a BOE filled with black people?

    • JM

      @”Rev al”: I think the real “Rev Al” would at least know it isn’t even the BOE anymore, its been the DOE for some time now.
      Anyway, anyone that knows the history of the old BOE knows that the finances weren’t always it strong point. The DOE could benefit from a good financial sense like Black, maybe not as the head if she obviously doesnt qualify. It should be switched to her being second-in-command, maybe a CFO or something. At most she could possibly comanage the top spot.

    • andy warhol

      i agree

  • Gerry Segal

    In Education: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

    New York City just got a new Chancellor of Education who never taught a class. Putting up an educator who is a scarecrow, giving them a fancy title and thinking that it means anything other than the sheer political will power wouldn’t get past a street wise 3rd grader. How do they sleep at night?

    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.

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