Thursday, November 18, 2010

Queens Holds Back On Black by Nathan Duke and Matthew Hampton- Forest Hills, NY Patch

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While many New Yorkers have already made up their minds about incoming Schools Chancellor Cathie Black, Queens politicians have so far been fairly reserved on the subject. With several saying they're going to withhold judgment on Black until she's answered a few questions from the City Council.
Karen Koslowitz, D-Forest Hills, has said at recent community meetings that her plan is to take the wait-and-see approach with Black, though she has seemed hesitant to give her any kind of endorsement.
"I'm not sure how good this one's going to be — the last two chancellors had no experience in education," Koslowitz said at a Forest Hills Civic Assocation meeting after the appointment. "I hope she understands public schools. I think her kids went to private schools."
Koslowitz pledged to try and work with Black at a Community Board 6 meeting the next night, though she's withheld comment on the subject since.
Koslowitz's colleague, Dan Halloran, R-Whitestone, originally joined other City Council members asking David Steiner, the state's education commissioner, to deny a waiver that would allow Black to become chancellor. The councilman later said his move was "premature" and asked for his name to be removed from the Council's resolution.
"I realized this was a rush to judgment," Halloran said. "I would like to ask my colleagues on the City Council to give Ms. Black a chance. I want to hear more from the mayor on her qualifications to be chancellor and the process used in her selection. And I want to hear more from Ms. Black on her plan to improve our city's public schools. It is premature to call for the denial of her waiver at this time."
Halloran said he believes the Council should give Black a "fair hearing" at which she could testify about her plans for city schools.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg picked up support on his schools chancellor pick from three former city mayors, Rudy Giuliani, David Dinkins and Edward Koch.
In a letter to Steiner, the former mayors wrote that Black had "an extraordinary track record of managing large organizations through trying circumstances."
"These are three individuals who understand the need to have someone who is talented and competent running an agency of this size and that, at the end of the day, the buck stops with the mayor," Bloomberg said in a statement.
A bevy of elected officials have also thrown their weight behind the mayor on the matter, including Councilman James Gennaro, D-Fresh Meadows, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and former Council Speaker Peter Vallone.