Last night, soon to be Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky spoke to Staten Island education leaders about his new job. Unfortunately, he didn't seem 100% sure on exactly what it is. "We're going to start Jan. 1, so we have some time to work those things out," he said. However, he does know that whatever he ends up doing, Schools Chancellor Cathie Black will be in charge, and declared, "I am very clear and she's very clear: She's the boss."

Meanwhile, Cathie Black is continuing her research on the school system by polling employees at Hearst Magazines. She told the Times, "I just sent an e-mail out to a bunch of people at work whose kids go to the public school. I want to put a small group of parents together; I want to hear what’s on their minds. Granted, they’re probably Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights and the Upper West Side, but it’s a start." At least she understands that nuance. She's also getting more vocal about her actual stances on education issues. Yesterday she spoke out against teacher tenure, and now she's giving her opinion on charter schools. She says, "I’m completely pro-charter schools, I’m pro-district schools, I’m pro-having the best public school system you can possibly have."

Polakow-Suransky is the current Deputy Chancellor for Performance and Accountability, and he told educators that he doesn't believe his new job will be too different from his current one, where he "evaluates school performance and provides tools that educators and families use to accelerate achievement." And despite Black's lack of experience, Polakow-Suransky thinks the city should keep an open mind. He said, "I would ask you, for whatever concerns that you may have, to actually get to know her. Because I've spent some time with her over the past few weeks and I'm very impressed."