A waiver that allowed Cathie Black to bypass state law for her appointment as chancellor of New York City's public school system should be overturned, according to a lawsuit filed earlier today by thirteen public school parents, including Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and one teacher.
The proceeding is against David M. Steiner, New York State Commissioner of Education, who granted the waiver to Black last week.
The announcement was made at around 11:00 this morning in the State Senate Hearing Room at 250 Broadway. It intends to block Black's nomination as New York City Schools Chancellor on the grounds that she does not have the necessary qualifications for the position, as required by state law.
"This is not about mayoral control. If anything it's about an appointment that's out of control, because the failure to designate someone who is prepared to lead a system of 1.1 million schoolchildren does a grave disservice to their future," said Jeffries. "The mayor's application for waiver was fatally flawed. Commissioner Steiner should have denied it and we're hopeful, hopeful that the courts will overturn his decision."
Mr. Jeffries, a parent of two public school students, went on to state his feelings on why a well-qualified chancellor is more important than ever right now for Brooklyn parents and educators.
"There are more children in the public school system from Brooklyn than any other borough," said Jeffries whose district represents A law suit was filed today stating Cathie Black lacks necessary qualifications, as required by state law, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and parts of Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights.
"Hundreds of thousands of children are relying upon a Chancellor who is qualified to lead the public school system and provide our children with a first-rate education that adequately prepares them for the challenges of the 21st Century."
Black's appointment continues to rake in controversy, especially in light of recent comments she made to The New York Daily News earlier this week. Black acknowledged that she wasn't sure if she'd send her own kids to attend city schools and even admitted that she hasn't had any formal meetings with parents groups.
Still, Mayor Bloomberg continues to stand firmly behind his decision to appoint Black as the successor to outgoing Chancellor Joel Klein, despite almost two months of protests from parents, educators, politicians and activists who remain vigorously opposed to the pick.
"I feel strong about the fact that the law has been violated and am hopeful that a judge will interpret the relevant law and come to that same conclusion," said Jeffries added.
The full list of petitioners includes Jeffries, Chris Owens, a district leader in Bed-Stuy and a parent of two NYC public school children, eleven other parents across five boroughs within the city and Julie Cavanaugh, a special education teacher from Brooklyn.