With the announcement that Bloomberg's Schools Chancellor choice Cathie Black would serve with a second-in-command with extensive education experience, one would think that the controversy over her appointment would slowly roll to a stop. But no. Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and other city pols say they will file a temporary restraining order to Block her appointment, which Jeffries said state Education Commissioner David Steiner didn't want to approve anyway. "Commissioner Steiner appears to have made this decision in the back room with Mayor Bloomberg whispering in his ear. By all accounts he was not comfortable with the appointment of Cathie Black, but he appeared to bow from immense pressure from City Hall and the mayor's rich and powerful friends to strike a compromise that is not in the best interest of our children."
At a protest in Brownsville, Black critic City Councilman Charles Barron urged parents to keep their children out of schools until a "qualified chancellor" is selected, and said having current Performance and Accountability Chancellor Shael Polakow-Suransky helping her out wouldn't change anything. "We question the legality of her riding on someone else's credentials," he said. "Mayoral control is out of control. The mayor is disrespectful, the mayor is abusive of the power the system gave him. And Cathie Black is unqualified to teach in a classroom, nevertheless [will] run the largest education system in the country."
And Black is looking less qualified by the day. Black has pointed to her seat on the National Leadership Board of the Harlem Village Academies charter school as a sign of her dedication to the city's school system, but those involved with the schools say she joined just five months ago and has never been a part of the community. One parent told the Daily News, "I've heard of Cathie Black from the papers, but she's not part of this school," while another said, "No, no, no, she's not with us."
Bloomberg says that if Black is allowed to serve, Polakow-Suransky would advise Black on testing, curriculum and evaluation policy issues as well as oversee the implementation of major educational policies. Barron compared Polakow-Suransky's position to allowing a driver to drive without a license if the passenger has one.