NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS/WCBS 880/AP) – New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner has granted a waiver to let media executive Cathie Black head New York City’s school system.
The announcement Monday came after Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed to appoint a seasoned educator as second-in-command to Black.
A compromise was reached Friday when Bloomberg agreed to appoint Shael Polakow-Suransky as senior deputy chancellor and chief academic officer under Black.
In his decision announced late Monday, Steiner said Black “has affirmatively stated that the position will continue throughout her tenure ensuring strong and continuous pedagogic support.”
He also praised Black’s “exceptional record of successfully leading complex organizations and achievement of excellence in her endeavors.”
Bloomberg’s choice of Black has been slammed for her lack of experience in education.
State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries of Brooklyn said Monday he was considering legal action to block the waiver.
Shino Tanikawa, a mother with two children in Manhattan public schools, said she was strongly opposed to the waiver for Black.
“The law is very clear that a chancellor either has the required educational background or something that is equivalent, and she doesn’t have either,” Tanikawa said.
On Sunday, some opponents staged a protest in Lower Manhattan speaking out against Black’s nomination.
Black needed a waiver from Steiner to serve as schools chancellor because she has no credentials as an educator. An advisory committee appointed by Steiner opposed the waiver.
At a news conference Monday, Bloomberg said he doesn’t remember how he reacted when he first learned the Education Commissioner’s panel had voted against Black last week.
“What was I supposed to do — jump up and down,” Bloomberg asked facetiously, “government doesn’t work that way.”
Polakow-Suransky, a current deputy chancellor, has served as a teacher and principal.
Despite Polakow-Suransky appointment, the mayor made clear that Black would be the person ultimately making the decisions.
“There will be one person in charge — make no mistake about that,” Bloomberg said.
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