On Monday, November 29, when New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner granted a waiver to Cathleen Black, he committed an egregious crime against all of the students, staff, parents and, indeed, the citizens of New York City.
To draw a school analogy, the message has been sent that it is alright for one student who has not attended class, nor done any work, to receive credit for the semester based on the blatant submission of another student’s homework assignments, book reports, class projects and other academic work.
The granting of this waiver is an affront to the teachers and administrators who have committed themselves to perfecting the craft and science of teaching, and have made the sacrifices of time and finances to comply with city requirements for advanced degrees and certification in specific subject areas and related child development areas, as mandated to retain their positions.
As for the mayor, who had the hubris to request a waiver for Ms. Black, who is totally uneducated in the field of teaching and learning, it highlights his hypocrisy, as he refuses to comply with legal mandates to expand city agencies by placing qualified, list-eligible African-American candidates for employment.
Well, we are not accepting this monstrous situation. Ms. Black may be sneaking into schools surreptitiously and smiling at our children, but we are not fooled. She is still unqualified. A waiver from the New York State commissioner does not change that condition. On November 29, when she received her waiver, she still lacked all of the stated requirements. Nothing has changed. She is still unqualified. Yet, the mayor now has another business mogul to oversee New York City’s $23 billion school budget. What a travesty.
The struggle continues.
Inez Barron is the New York State Assemblywoman for the 40th District and a retired educator.