State education commissioner David Steiner has decided to grant Cathie Black the waiver necessary for the Hearst publishing executive to assume the job as the city’s educator-in-chief.
Previously, Steiner said that he would deny the waiver–necessary, since Black lacks the education credentials required for the job–unless Black agreed to hire a deputy in charge of teaching and curriculum. Those fears were alleviated with Black and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that Shael Polakow-Suransky, a former principal of a Bronx high school and a deputy chancellor at the city’s Department of Education, will fill that role.
“After careful review,” wrote Steiner, “it is my judgment that, when viewed in its entirety, Ms. Black’s training, background and experience are substantially equivilent to the certification requirements set forth in law.”
He added, “Despite her lack of direct experience in education, I find that Ms. Black’s exceptional record of successfully leading complex organizations and achievement of excellence in her endeavors warrant certification.”
Mayor Bloomberg, who has taken a hit in his favorability rating because of his choice of Black, praised Steiner’s decision and said that Black would meet parents and teachers in the coming weeks.
“Today’s decision was the right one for our kids and our schools. It is now time to put politics aside and recognize that it is in the best interest of our children for Cathie Black to succeed as Chancellor. The crucial work that lies ahead requires all of us to come together around our shared commitment to our children,” he said in a statement.
Joel Klein, the current city schools chief, is planning on stepping down in January.