Open Letter From Assemblyman Crespo to Commissioner Steiner of the NYS Education Department

November 10, 2010
November 10, 2010

David M. Steiner
Commissioner of NYS Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234

Dear Commissioner Steiner,

Yesterday’s announcement of the resignation of NYC School Chancellor Joel Klein and the decision by Mayor Bloomberg to appoint Ms. Cathleen P. Black as his successor has raised some troubling issues for which I write to request your clarification.

It is my understanding that Mayor Bloomberg has requested a “waiver” from the State Education Department for approval of Ms. Black’s appointment. What then is the current policy or requirements for state approval of a candidate for the position of Chancellor? Furthermore, if a candidate lacks a particular academic or experience requirement, what criteria and process is used to approve a “waiver” of said requirement?

While I agree that Ms. Black’s management experience in the private sector is truly commendable, I am gravely concerned that with so many changes underway and more proposed for our City’s education system, we must be careful to set aside long standing state policy in ways that would not be afforded to other high level positions. In this regard, I am currently exploring legislative remedies that would address these circumstances in the future.

Your assistance in clarifying these questions will help me understand and explain to my constituents, why someone with no education background is selected to run one of the nation’s largest school systems during such a critical time.

Respectfully,

Marcos A. Crespo
Member of Assembly

cc:
Members of the NYS Regents
Ms. Cathy Nolan, Chair of the NYS Assembly Education Committee
Assembly Colleagues
Media