June 15, 2011
Members of the Community Education Council for District 1 prepared for a meeting last night with Chancellor Dennis Walcott by compiling a 6-page list of questions about the most pressing issues facing the Lower East Side school district. They got few answers.
The council’s questions addressed space allocation in local school buildings, the implementation of new “common core” standards, and District 1′s unique all-lottery enrollment model, among other issues.
Their questions went largely unanswered in part because of a scheduling mishap: Walcott told the council on Monday that he would leave the meeting early so he could celebrate his daughter’s birthday. Having billed the meeting as a town hall conversation with the chancellor, the council decided to devote the entire hour to public comment instead of their own questions, according to Lisa Donlan, its president. About a dozen people asked the chancellor questions that were mostly personal, rather than policy-oriented.
Donlan said the Department of Education still could have addressed the council’s concerns more fully. Department officials came to the meeting with a 2-page response to their questions, which had been submitted earlier in the week.
“Clearly this was not a good faith effort to answer the CEC’s questions,” Donlan said.
The council’s questions and the department’s response are below.