From Lisa Donlan, CEC member from District 1 in Manhattan:
One of the immediate, if relatively minor, consequences of the re-organization has been the suspension of several key parent engagement activities as the DoE tardily contemplates the effect on parents of kicking over the anthill to see what crawls out, once again.
Missing in action are the A-660 (Chancellor’s Regs that govern/define PTAs and Presidents’ Councils) the A-655 (regulations on School and District Leadership Teams), the CEP (Comprehensive Education Plan that is to align school goals with budgets, structures and actions) for each school, and the DCEP (CEP for community districts) to name a few of the casualties.
Each of these documents is in the midst of a major rewrite to accommodate the restructuring, and thus are not accessible for parents to use.
This year the individual school budgets, the first ones under the (watered down) revolutionary new funding scheme will be released in “early May.” CEC’s are to hold public hearings, reporting back parent input by May 31, as the Panel on Educational Policy is to rubber stamp the budget in the June meeting.
The Citywide Education Councils for High Schools and Special Education are based on the current region structure that will disappear on June 30, affecting the formation of the councils as the elections go forward.
In any case, the DoE has refused for three years to follow through on suggestions from parent leaders and elected officials to improve the council election process, legislation that governs the councils, or the training and operations of the councils.
It is clear that while the Mayor and Chancellor are willing to commit enormous energy into making bold new changes to our public education system, their implementation is often sloppy and poorly thought out. Instead of leaving parents limited opportunities for input in the wake of their reforms, the DoE would be wise to include us as partners in the planning and design of changes that affect us, our children and their schools.
I am sure we could contribute much to counter the negative effects of the culture of group think and yes-men that the consultants and lawyers have brought to the policymaking table.