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Critics Blast Compromise Over City Schools Chancellor Pick

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Critics of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's choice for the next schools chancellor say they will file for a temporary restraining order on Monday to try to prevent publishing executive Cathie Black from getting a waiver to fill the position.

At a protest in Brownsville, Brooklyn on Saturday, Councilman Charles Barron said for the second day in a row that he will continue protests against Black and resort to civil disobedience if necessary.

Barron urged parents to keep their children out of city public schools until a "qualified chancellor" is selected. He also said the state should repeal mayoral control of city schools.

"Mayoral control is out of control. The mayor is disrespectful, the mayor is abusive of the power the system gave him," said Barron. "And Cathie Black is unqualified to teach in a classroom, nevertheless [will] run the largest education system in the country."

Black needs a waiver to become schools chancellor because she has no educational experience.

An official told NY1 on Friday that after some earlier reservations, State Education Commissioner David Steiner has agreed to a compromise in which a deputy with an academic background will be appointed to serve under Black.

The mayor's office says that deputy will be Shael Polakow-Suransky, 38, who is currently the city's Deputy Chancellor for Accountability and Performance.

Polakow-Suransky, a longtime educator in the city schools system who has worked as a teacher and principal, is a Brown University graduate who holds a master's degree from the Bank Street College of Education and a supervisor's degree.

In 2001, he opened the Bronx International High School, which focused on the specific needs of recent immigrants who were just learning English, and in 2004, he became vice president for Academic Affairs in the Department of Education's Office of New Schools.

Last year, Polakow-Suransky became the deputy chief schools officer for the Division of School Support, before being appointed to his current post in Accountability and Performance.

Under Black, the mayor's office says Polakow-Suransky will oversee instructional programs and the implementation of major educational policies. He will also advise Black on policy issues relating to curriculum, testing and evaluation.

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