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Educators, city leaders rally to block approval of Cathie Black

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Opposition over Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s selection of media honcho Cathie Black as the next school chancellor gained steam yesterday with educators and city leaders gathering, vowing to block the needed state approval of her appointment.

“Ms. Black doesn’t meet the legal requirements to be our chancellor, and the process Mayor Bloomberg used to select her is unacceptable,” said civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, adding that her appointment “raises the specter of cronyism.”

The protesters yesterday argued that the selection process was never made public and that Black, 66, who currently heads Hearst Magazines, has no background in education.

Black will need a waiver from state Education Commissioner David Steiner to bypass the three-year teaching requisite for the position. A rep for Steiner said the commissioner hasn’t yet received an application for Black’s waiver.

A Bloomberg rep said the mayor thinks Black is “more than qualified.”

Still, online petitions already have sprung up lobbying for a new search, some reaching more than 6,500 signatures as of yesterday.

Current schools chancellor, Joel Klein, got a similar waiver when appointed in 2002, though to much less scrutiny.

Ten-year teacher Julie Cavanagh, who attended the protest outside the Tweed Courthouse, said a chancellor should absolutely be an educator.

“Teachers are saying that this is a sign of the mayor’s arrogance,” she said of Black’s selection.

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