Education Panel Meets Tonight, But Won't Weigh In on Black

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New York City's Panel for Educational Policy meets tonight, but discussion about Hearst publishing executive Cathie Black becoming the new schools chancellor is not on the agenda.

The Department of Education says the panel does not need to weigh in on whether Black gets a waiver from state law requiring school superintendents to have educational experience. But, the City Council's education committee chair, Robert Jackson, disagrees.

"The request must come from the Board of Education, and this, in New York City, is the panel for educational policy -- not the Mayor directly," he said.

Jackson is urging Black's opponents to speak up during the panel's public comment period tonight. He said she's not qualified to lead the city school system because she's not an educator.

Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he's not troubled that some lawmakers are asking the state's Education Department to reject Black as the next chancellor. Bloomberg says her vast managerial experience will help the city through a tough fiscal climate.

"We have $800 million in stimulus money this year in the education budget. It's gone next year," said Bloomberg. "Do you have any idea how many teachers $800 million a year is?"

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has also chimed into the debate, asking New Yorkers to give Black a chance. He released a statement saying he spoke with her on the phone and was impressed with her enthusiasm for the job.