AP source: Black to receive waiver to serve as schools chancellor

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(AP) - The state's education commissioner will grantmedia executive Cathie Black a waiver to serve as chancellor of thenation's largest school system, an official with knowledge of thedecision told The Associated Press Friday.

The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity becausethe announcement had not yet been made.

The decision opens the door for the Hearst Magazines chairwomanto succeed Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, who is leaving to take ajob with News Corp. The 66-year-old Black had needed the waiverbecause she does not have a background in education.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg had been criticized over his decision toappoint the noneducator to the position, but several high-profilewomen had endorsed his choice, including Whoopi Goldberg and GloriaSteinem, with whom Black worked at Ms. magazine in the 1970s.

In a letter Friday, Bloomberg said Black would appoint38-year-old Shael Polakow-Suransky, a former teacher and a memberof Klein's administration, to serve as senior deputy chancellor andchief academic officer.

The official told the AP that Education Commissioner David M.Steiner would grant the waiver Monday.

An advisory panel appointed to weigh Black's qualifications toserve as chancellor had recommended that Steiner deny the waiverthat would allow her to serve as chancellor.

Steiner had previously suggested he might be willing to grant awaiver to Black if a second-in-command with academic experiencewere to be chosen.

Under Black, Polakow-Suransky will be tasked with overseeing theschools' instructional programs and the implementation of majoreducational policies, the mayor said in his letter to Steiner.Polakow-Suransky will also advise the chancellor on policy issuesrelating to curriculum, testing, evaluation and more.

Currently, he serves under Klein as the deputy chancellor forperformance and accountability, overseeing school evaluation andcapacity building.

A Quinnipiac University Poll showed New Yorkers believed by a2-1 margin that Black was not qualified for the job. The poll foundthat 51 percent of city voters believed Black did not have theright experience to serve as schools chancellor.

Just 26 percent said Black did have the experience for the job,and 23 percent were undecided.

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