Yesterday, a state education panel of eight voted 4-2 against granting Cathie Black a waiver that would allow her to become the city's Schools Chancellor, with the other two voting "not at this time." And while many parents and politicians would love to believe this is the last of the drama, it's far from over. Not only does state Education Commissioner David Steiner have sole power to grant or deny a waiver (he will take the panel's recommendation into consideration), but the "not at this time" votes open up a few other options.
The vote could mean that either Bloomberg would have to submit another waiver, better highlighting Black's education experience and plans for the school system, or he would have to appoint a Chief Academic Officer to serve under her. Steiner also reportedly told panel members that he had a preference for a vote of "not at this time," but said, "I will weigh their advice and insight as I consider the decision before me."
Though the door is still wide open for Black to become Chancellor, critics are pouncing on Bloomberg for what they're calling a failed appointment. "People have interpreted mayoral control to mean that Bloomberg gets his way, but it seems the commissioner and the people he appointed didn't see it that way," said professor Pedro Noguera. "He went into this by himself, and in fact it was revealed that the emperor had no clothes," said Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio. And Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters told NY1, "Clearly the panelists heard the voices of parents, educators and community members around the city and agreed with us that she wasn't qualified to become the head of the nation's largest school system." Steiner could make his decision about the waiver as early as today.