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Jim Brennan's letter urging Denial of Waiver for Cathleen Black as NYC Chancellor

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  • Leonie Haimson
    ... From: James Brennan November 15, 2010 David M. Steiner Commissioner of Education State of New York Washington Avenue
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 15, 2010
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    -----Original Message-----
    From: James Brennan <brennanj@...>
    November 15, 2010

    David M. Steiner

    Commissioner of Education

    State of New York

    Washington Avenue

    Albany, NY 12234

     

    Dear Commissioner Steiner:

     

    I am writing to urge you to deny the request for a waiver for the appointment of Cathleen P. Black to

    the position of New York City Public Schools Chancellor. It is of utmost importance that the

    incoming schools chancellor be a person with a background in education.

     

    Whatever other talents Ms. Black possesses, she has no education credentials and has never worked

    in the public sector. Ms. Black acknowledged having no personal or professional experience with a

    large public school system or with labor unions. At the press conference announcing her

    appointment, Ms. Black asked for patience as she gets up to speed.

     

    However, New York City public

    schools face many serious and immediate challenges. Schools must work to transition to the new

    State testing program; there are currently 47 schools slated for possible closure; New York City

    teachers have been without a contract for the past year; and the system will continue to have to deal

    with extremely challenging budget constraints. We need a chancellor who can hit the ground

    running and who comes well-steeped in an understanding of how education policy is experienced “on

    the ground” by the principals, teachers, families and most of all the students for whom it is ultimately

    intended.

     

    There might be rare circumstances in which a waiver is appropriate, but the granting of such waivers

    to what would be three chancellors in a row would demonstrate a disregard for the value of having an

    educator lead the school system. It is incumbent upon Mayor Bloomberg to identify a chancellor

    with both the necessary management skills as well as the legally required education background.

    Sincerely,

     

    James F. Brennan

    cc: Chancellor Merryl Tisch

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