By Julie Shapiro and Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the rule requiring schools chancellors to have experience in education should be scrapped.
"The law should be eliminated," Bloomberg told reporters Tuesday.
His remark came as a state-appointed panel was meeting in secret to determine whether to grant a waiver to the mayor's pick for chancellor, Hearst magazine exec Cathie Black. Since Black has no education experience, she needs a waiver to get the job.
"It's not so simple to say [you have to come] from one background," said Bloomberg, noting that current chancellor Joel Klein also needed a waiver, and that he "will go down as one of the great chancellors.”
But a new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday found that only 29 percent of voters agree with the mayor.
More than 60 percent said a chancellor needs education experience, not management experience, to be qualified for the job. The poll comes after weeks of criticism from parents’ groups and other advocates.
Despite the opposition, Bloomberg was confident that Black would be approved by the state panel and eventually prove critics wrong.
"She's going to have to be very tough,” he said, before using a baseball metaphor to describe her succession from Klein.
"We had a great pitcher the first seven innings," Bloomberg said, "[and Black] was the right closer to bring in."
Meanwhile, the city released another list of Black supporters to bolster the mayor's case: a group of 28 prominent women, including Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Steinem and NARAL Pro-Choice New York President Kelli Conlin.
In a letter addressed to state Education Commissioner David Steiner, who convened the behind-closed-doors panel to decide whether to grant Black the waiver, the women called her appointment as the first female schools chancellor "historic."