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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Are we seeing the death of parent involvement in NYC?

From today's NY Post: "the Department of Education's own parent engagement office found that only 51% of the schools it has looked at so far has a functioning School Leadership Team (SLT)."

Not surprising since the Chancellor seems determined to eviscerate the authority of SLTs, and take away their power to decide on their school's budget, spending priorities, and/or comprehensive education plan.

… Martine Guerrier, the city's chief of parent engagement, said her office is working to fix the problems. "SLTs have always been an issue," she said. Her office began looking into SLTs recently and found that many only existed on paper. But in district surveys, 83% of schools claimed they had SLTs.

Guerrier's office was created last year to address some of these complaints. "We just started, so there's no way to tell right now, but I'm encouraged by what I've seen," she said of the city's progress.

But William McDonald, a parent in Queens District 29 who also heads the citywide Chancellor's Parent Advisory Committee, said the effect of Bloomberg's initiatives on parent involvement has been "a mess."

"It's to the point now where SLTs don't function at all," he said, noting the problem began in 2003 when the city eliminated SLT budgets. The city instead hired "SLT coordinators" - a job that was dissolved last year.

And with the PTAs also disappearing or growing less active, McDonald sees a dim future. "As I see it, in three years, parent involvement probably won't even exist," he said.


NYC Educator said...

The dearth of parental involvement is what's allowed folks like Bloomberg and Giuliani to get away with what they've gotten away with. Folks like you, though, make a difference. Jim Liebman doesn't run just to keep that trim figure.

Zolly said...

Parent involvement in public schools? In some ways this was the worst thing ever to hit the system!
We have parents out there who are pushy. They use threats and intimidation to harass principals into placing their children into better classes. Some of the children are the worst possible discipline problems. These are the same parents who deny this. It's never their child who caused an incident.
Let's have our schools with teachers as the leaders. Teachers know their students best.