By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — The chairman of New York City Council’s Committee on Education is opposing the certification of Cathie Black, the mayor’s choice for Schools Chancellor.
Education Chairman Robert Jackson, who represents parts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood, made his opinions known in a letter, dated Nov. 12, to New York State Education Department Commissioner David Steiner.
"School systems are not corporations; they differ profoundly in their mission, dynamics and governance processes," Jackson wrote in his letter to Steiner, which is available in full on his City Council webpage.
"Ms. Black’s marketing expertise and personality may have made her a superlative corporate leader for the publishing industry but I do not see evidence of experience in education that a Chancellor needs to guide our nation’s largest and most complex public school system."
In order for Black to be certified, Steiner will have to grant her a waiver since Black, a prominent magazine publishing executive, does not have the educational training or experience required of candidates for the position under state law.
State Senator-elect Tony Avella sent the same message to Steiner earlier this week, and a similar letter from a group of concerned citizens had gathered more than 6,400 online signatures as of Sunday afternoon.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has defended his decision to replace the outgoing Chancellor, Joel Klein, with a woman who has no professional experience in education, insisting that the primarily managerial, and noting that the Department of Education was already staffed with "pedagogical experts."
Like Black, Klein lacked the experience in education required by the state, and was certified only through use of the waiver.