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Saturday, April 28, 2007

NY Times: Lack of Interest in Parent Councils

Today's NY Times examines the low interest in the Community Education Council elections. What's unusual about the article is that the Times, normally very deferrential to the Bloomberg agenda for the schools, here devotes considerable space to air parent views. Here's one parent leader:

Rob Caloras, the council president in District 26 in northeast Queens, a district known for its excellent schools and high levels of activism by parents, said that only five people were running for the parent council.

“It’s kind of sad,” Mr. Caloras said. “We’ve lost people who were on the council. They went back to the PTA because they feel it’s much more important to be active in their children’s schools than waste their time here.”

In District 27 (Queens) Andrew Baumann was the only candidate to show up at a forum where candidates were to address parents.
“The mayor and the chancellor really don’t want us involved,” said Mr. Baumann, who calls himself a reluctant candidate for a third term. “When you’re running a big corporation, you don’t ask the guys on the loading dock what their opinions are. The way I see it, we’re just pushing a box from one side to the other in a warehouse.”
What the article fails to mention is that Chancellor Klein hired accounting firm KPMG to manage the election process. But their poor management was a major factor in the low turnout at the candidate forums. PTA officers eligible to vote and even candidates themselves were not told of the forums until a few days, sometimes hours, before they happened.

Click here for the full article.

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