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Bumpy road ahead for Cathie Black and NYC public school kids

Cyril Josh Barker | 4/12/2011, 5:29 p.m.

"It's our hope that Cathie Black starts listening to parents about some of their concerns on the issues of class size," she said. "The boarding school Cathie Black sent her children to has very small class sizes, so she should understand why this is an important move for New York City parents."

Chris Owens of the Deny Waiver Coalition said that his group is made up mostly of parents and educators who are not in favor of Black. Only holding one rally since Black was appointed, the coalition collected more than 13,000 signatures and submitted them to Steiner. Last Thursday, the Deny Waiver Coalition led a rally that garnered 300 people and also plans to file a lawsuit.

"We see this as a foundation for other changes in education law that need to take place and refine the waiver process so something like this can't ever happen again," Owens said.

In the case of the Community Education Council (CEC) from upper Manhattan's District 3, the issue is charter schools and what they see as certain schools being targeted for closure based on, they believe, questionable data by the DOE. On Tuesday, Bloomberg's DOE announced it plans to close 26 more schools.

Lying in upper Manhattan, CEC District 3 is the largest cluster of charter schools in the city. Noah Gothbaum said his group is planning to file a resolution condemning the Black appointment and the direction that Black and Bloomberg are taking the school system.

"Our biggest concern is that we want to see resources emphasized and focused on our traditional public schools. We don't want to see the strategy of closing our schools with no alternative. Six out of 10 kids across the city aren't passing the English and language arts test, and 54 percent aren't passing in math. [Black] is continuing where Joel Klein left off, and if we bring in another manager, we are not doing anything to address the huge problems."