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Lawsuit Will Fight Cathie Black's Appointment to Schools Chancellor

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WNYC
Education Commissioner David Steiner (center) surrounded by staffers and members of the advisory panel considering whether Cathie Black should be NYC schools chancellor. (Beth Fertig)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from political conversations on WNYC. On today's Brian Lehrer Show, Eric J. Snyder, attorney and New York City public school parent, talks about his lawsuit to block the appointment of Cathie Black.

With all the controversy surrounding Cathie Black's appointment to New York City Schools Chancellor, there was bound to be a lawsuit or two. Eric Snyder is responsible for one of them and more are expected.

On Friday, Snyder filed a lawsuit contesting the waiver granted to Black by Education Commissioner David Steiner. His argument is that even though the Commissioner can waive some qualifications for a candidate to the chancellor position, he doesn't have the legal authority to waive the master's degree requirement.

To me it's so important to understand the intricacies of the school system. Ms. Black, I understand, might be a fine woman and qualified as an executive, and the Mayor, an executive, and I just see an executive choosing an executive to run a business, but the New York City school system is not a business and the requirements to teach are in the statute for a reason, and she just doesn't meet any of the requirements.

For Snyder, the broader issue is also standardized testing in schools and he's concerned Black will continue to push for them. As Black makes her rounds in the press to defend her appointment, Snyder says he's received an outpouring of support for what he's doing to try and stop her.

It makes me believe that this is the right move, if nothing else than to make sure that the Mayor and the Chancellor look out for the students and not for this drive to test.

A hearing is scheduled in the case on December 23rd in Albany.

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