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Mayoral Pick For Schools Chancellor Defends Her Own Abilities

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg's pick for schools chancellor said Tuesday that she has the experience that is needed for the job.

Cathie Black met with outgoing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and the Department of Education cabinet in Manhattan's Tweed Courthouse.

"It was great," Black said. "We had a meeting with the cabinet. We toured all through the offices. We said hello to everybody. It was nice. We had some meetings. It was great."

The meeting was closed to the press.

Afterwards, she dismissed criticism that she is unqualified, as a publishing executive with no previous experience in education.

"The mayor's been very clear that he really wanted a strong, effective manager, and I have almost 40 years of experience at that," said Black.

"Leadership and management really matter, and I think the idea that people would look at this and not realize that you’re managing a huge complex organization, something that she brings a lot of talent to," said Klein.

Black needs a special waiver from the New York State Department of Education commissioner in order to serve as chancellor.

On Tuesday, the commissioner said he will accept a request for a waiver directly from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

There had been speculation that the city's Panel for Educational Policy, an education advisory board with members appointed by the mayor and borough presidents, could have weighed in on whether or not to ask for a waiver.

It is not clear when the commissioner will decide whether to grant the waiver.

Bloomberg has maintained that Black has the managerial skills to run the school system and that she will have a team of education experts to advise her.

Meanwhile, many who attended the monthly PEP meeting in Brooklyn Tuesday weren't buying Bloomberg's reasoning for the hire.

"I like to join the thousands of people who have expressed outrage at the appointment of someone with no apparent interest in education to run our schools," said one parent.

"We recognized mayoral control but we also recognize that we needed to have more stakeholders at the table -- more parents, more teachers, more students. We all have the right to participate in who the next Chancellor of the City of New York is," said Manhattan Borough President Scot Stringer.

"How do we go to a child, a student in the system and urge them to study and work hard and then say when the big jobs come up, if you don't go to the right cocktail party, you're not going to be considered," said PEP member Patrick Sullivan.

Stringer says he may go to the courts to determine whether the mayor can bypass the public panel when requesting the waiver.

When asked to respond to her critics Tuesday, Black told NY1, "I'll prove them wrong. I will be the next school's chancellor."

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