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[Susan notes: Isn't it something that a man with this education and experience has to get a waiver to become interim superintendent. All Cathie Black needed was a degree in English and "connections." ]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Re With Deal on Deputy, Black Wins Helm of City Schools (news article, Nov. 30):

The decision to grant a waiver to Cathleen P. Black, a totally uncertified and educationally unqualified person, makes David M. Steiner, the state education commissioner, an accomplice to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's unilateral decision.

As a retired school superintendent, on several occasions I served as an interim superintendent. In order for me to be hired, New York State law required the district to obtain a waiver for me to be employed. The district had to prove that I was duly certified and that it had conducted an intensive search that was not successful and thus my hiring was necessary.

Why the double standard? Why were no superior school superintendents in the United States given an opportunity to interview for the New York City schools chancellor position?

I am a college professor; my graduate students are teachers studying to be school administrators. They have a B.A. and an M.A. and are seeking a third degree in school district administration. After obtaining their degree they must pass an eight-hour state examination and then begin the interview process to secure a position as a school administrator.

Granting the waiver to Ms. Black belittles and demeans all of us who spent our entire careers on the front lines. It will serve also to continue the exodus of qualified administrators to suburban school districts that value qualified teachers who don't foreclose on the future of their students.

Robert Ricken

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