Posts tagged "parental involvement"
June 24, 2010
The city’s move to delay the first day of school rather than interrupt the first week back with a religious holiday comes after weeks of a sustained email campaign by parents.
Since late May, parents have been circulating an email to Chancellor Klein calling on the city to begin the school year on Sept. 13. The current plan is for the first day of school to be Sept. 8, the Wednesday after Labor Day. But because Thursday and Friday are Rosh Hashanah, a major Jewish holiday, the schools will be closed. Students wouldn’t see their new teachers and classmates again until Monday.
Michelle Chiulla Lipkin, the PTA president at PS 199 on the Upper West Side, drafted the letter to the chancellor after realizing what she had to look forward to in September.
“I can imagine it now. Summer is over. My kids are ready with their backpacks and new haircuts and they go to school excited and nervous about the year ahead. And then they come home and stay there for four days until they go back to school and do it all over again,” she said. “We all know they won’t remember anything that their teacher said on Wednesday.” (more…)
March 4, 2010
New York parents may soon have a new advocacy group to help them press for change in the city schools, led by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
De Blasio announced the group, which will be known as the “Parent Advocate Coordinating Team,” or PACT, at a town hall forum on education his office held last night in downtown Brooklyn. The public advocate’s staff began collecting contact information for parents last night, and de Blasio said that he hoped to mobilize parents across the city.
At the meeting, De Blasio specifically mentioned organizing against the proposed MTA student Metrocard cuts, and he has called for a moratorium on giving charter schools space in city school buildings. De Blasio’s office hasn’t yet determined what topics the parent group will tackle first, de Blasio spokeswoman Maibe Gonzalez said. (Gonzalez is a former spokeswoman for the Department of Education.) (more…)
You can say a lot of things about Chris Cerf, the top Klein deputy who’s now joining the Bloomberg campaign. He’s passionate and fearlessly blunt about his view for how to improve schools. He can also be jolly and pragmatic, managing despite his tough talk on teachers unions to craft a solid working relationship with Randi Weingarten. But for someone who falls squarely on one side of a bitterly divided education world, this line just doesn’t make sense:
Mr. Cerf, a widely admired figure in the education world,
Which education world, New York Times?
The first thing we can learn from this piece of news is that Bloomberg definitely means to continue trying to shape the education world into the one Cerf supports. But whether Cerf will really be capable of doing what the Bloomberg campaign seems to expect him to do — deliver the charter school parent vote — is a wide open question. (more…)
August 31, 2009
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz named his appointee to the resurrected citywide school board today, choosing a college administrator with a child in the city’s public school system.
Gbubemi Okotieuro, the associate dean for governmental and external relations at Medgar Evers College and the father of a high school senior, said in an interview today that he would be a dedicated member of the Panel for Educational Policy. Describing himself as a parent who has been heavily involved “behind the scenes” in his son’s education, Okotieuro said he would not shy away from voicing his opinions.
“I’m not looking for a fight, God knows I’m not. But if you don’t want a man who can think for himself, I’m not your man,” he said. “Marty and I had a talk, and I was very clear, if you want me for this appointment, I’m going to do what I believe is right for my own son and the other kids out there.”
The panel, which became legally nonexistent when the state Senate refused to renew mayoral control legislation this summer, is slowly being reconstituted now that the law is back in effect. With Markowitz’s appointment, there is one seat that remains to be filled by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. A spokesman for Diaz said he was still interviewing candidates for the position. (more…)
August 7, 2009
Nothing in the renewed mayoral control legislation that passed yesterday altered the role of district parent councils, but that hasn’t stopped one council president from starting to rethink his role under the new system.
Jim Devor, president of the Community Education Council in Brooklyn’s District 15, said that the renewed attention to parental involvement and a new parent training center offer parent councils the chance to redefine themselves. Many council members around the city have felt marginalized and have a strained relationship with the city education department. According to Devor, the councils could now become “conduits” between the Department of Education, the training center and parent associations and parent-led School Leadership Teams.
“We could see ourselves as the barefoot doctors for parent training,” Devor said.
Devor said that CEC members should be among the first to avail themselves of the training the new center will provide and can then reach out to their parents and schools and effectually pay the training forward.
Little is known yet about the details of the $1.6 million dollar parent training center created in the mayoral control re-authorization bill. The legislation calls for the center, which will be operated by the City University of New York, to train parents in all five boroughs on how to effectively work both in their schools and also on the district- and city-wide levels. The center will also assist parents in communicating with teachers, school administrators and Department of Education offices. The legislation additionally mandates that the center will “conduct outreach and recruitment” to increase the diversity of parent-led council and leadership teams in schools and districts.
Given the new center’s as-yet vague mission and relatively small budget, Devor said he suspects it will be difficult for the new training center to make deep inroads with parents on the ground level throughout the city. The already-established parent councils could act as arms to assist in distributing the center’s training message to parents throughout their districts.
Community Education Councils are officially charged with evaluating district superintendents, approving district zoning plans and reviewing their district’s capital plans.
July 8, 2009
The Senate may be nearing an agreement on mayoral control, but now there’s a new debate — over how to increase parental involvement, and what involvement means.
At the center of the debate are the two parent groups most actively lobbying Albany, and each has its own slightly different vision.
The Parent Commission on School Governance is pushing for a kind of parent union, which it calls an Independent Parent Organization and Training Academy.
According to Patricia Connelly, a member of the Parent Commission, the organization would act like a think tank-cum-lobbying force for parent advocate groups and would be modeled on the now-defunct United Parent Association.
“It can be a place where people come together and learn from one another,” Connelly said, adding that the group would also do research and train less experienced parents.
“Right now we don’t have an institutionalized role and people say well there’s OFEA [Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy], but that’s just an arm of the Department of Education and it’s more about delivering PowerPoint presentations rather than what we really need to know to be effective advocates,” she said. (more…)
June 16, 2009
A parent reader who’s not usually on the same side as the Bloomberg administration e-mailed me his take on the Assembly mayoral control bill the mayor endorsed. To his surprise, he liked a lot of it! This is the same bill that the two main parent groups and even the teachers union are saying needs additions.
The parent’s take:
To my amazement, there seem to be considerable advancements (at least at first glance), in the powers and functioning of school leadership teams (“SLTs”) compared to the present state of the law. For example, reaffirming the requirement that ALL members of an SLT be consulted IN ADVANCE of an appointment of a new Principal is refreshing. Moreover, parental participation in the formulation of school based budgets, is now substantively recognized. Further, there is some sort of appeal process to the District Superintendent put into place (albeit rather inadequately) for SLT’s to appeal a Principal’s version of a school based budget at odds with the SLT’s Comprehensive Education Plan.
Want to share your opinion? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 9, 2009
The rift between the Rev. Al Sharpton and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, the two founders of the Education Equality Project, widened this weekend when Sharpton used his weekly radio address to criticize New York City’s brand of parent involvement, as we reported he would.
Sharpton told the audience at his rally in Harlem on Saturday that problems with education in the city could not be solved “without parental involvement and respect.” Dividing the mayoral control debate into two sides, he defined one faction as “our so-called liberal friends,” who he said prioritize safeguarding teachers’ jobs over the needs of children, and the other as people who say, “Let us run everything and we’ll make all the decisions,” a reference to Klein’s vision of mayoral control. (more…)
March 27, 2009
Lots of people nod at the idea that the biggest failing of mayoral control of the public schools has been a lack of parent involvement. The president of Manhattan, Scott Stringer, this week issued a proposal that lays out a roadmap he argues would change that.
Rather than re-thinking the citywide education board, as other advocates have done, Stringer’s proposal targets the elected parent councils that already exist. His idea is to inject gravity and authority into the councils, which are now beset by pitifully low participation rates and a reputation for powerlessness, by taking a hint from the real-estate and development world.
In that world, groups of citizen volunteers called community boards work together to develop responses to proposals from developers and policy makers on everything from whether to tear down a building to concerns about dog excrement. City Hall can’t make a decision without at least collecting a board’s formal response.
The idea is gaining some headway; Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz of Brooklyn intends to introduce a bill that would formally propose the idea to the legislature in the next few days. (more…)