In the wake of a state panel recommending against granting a waiver to allow Cathie Black to become NYC Schools Chancellor, the NY Times reports that Mayor Bloomberg's administration tried—in secret— to seek a compromise with the state: "State officials proposed that City Hall consider the second appointment to settle concerns about Ms. Black’s lack of experience in education, these people said Wednesday. But talks fell apart by Tuesday, and that afternoon David M. Steiner, the education commissioner, hardened the state’s position by saying publicly that he was disinclined to approve Ms. Black unless she had an official with education experience to help her run the system."
The panel's recommendation is not binding, and State Education Commissioner Steiner has final say in whether the successful publishing executive can get a waiver—necessary because she doesn't have education credentials— to lead the largest public schools system in the country. Former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein scoffed at the requirement of education credentials, saying,"No human being has all of the skills, but if you focus only on the pedagogical issues, then I think you're really going to miss the forest from the trees." Klein also questioned finding someone qualified within the DOE, "I was an outcome results-driven guy. I don't think that people who grow up in that organization are likely to be able to affect that kind of cultural change."
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) blasted the possibility of Steiner making the decision, "There's nothing in the law that permits Commissioner Sterner to grant this waiver," and offered a flaw in Bloomberg's "a good manager is a good manager" thinking, "Joe Torre is a great manager, but Joe Torre would not make a great public-school chancellor."
In the meantime, here are some suggestions for a co-chancellor—aka a Mini-Me.