Friday, January 9, 2009

Bloomberg Curtailment of Parent Role Ruled Illegal By Albany

A year ago, Queens public school parent Marie Pollicino refused to accept Mike Bloomberg's attempt to marginalize public school parents. She filed a formal complaint with the state education commissioner to reverse the Chancellor's changes in regulation A-655 specifying the role of school leadership teams (SLTs). Her action was joined by Queens parent Melvyn Meer, the District 26 Community District Education Council and the UFT.

This week, State Education Commissioner Richard Mills ruled that the Bloomberg administration's attempt to revise Regulation A-655, shifting all decision making power on SLTs to principals was a violation of state education law. The law grants school-based management teams specific powers and duties:
Develop an annual school comprehensive educational plan that is aligned with the school based budget. Such plans shall be submitted to the district superintendent and be made available for public inspection.... (Ed Law 2590 - h(15) (b-1))
In his decision Mills says "The A-655, as revised, strips the SLT of this basic, statutorily mandated authority". The state ordered the city to revise the regulation.

Commissioner Mills also ruled that the method by which the Bloomberg Administration changed the policy was unlawful. State law requires the changes to be developed by the superintendent of each community school district in conjunction with committees "composed of administrators, teachers and parents". The current changes were developed without this input.

A copy of the legal decision can be found here.

For background on the case, see this earlier Daily News article and update here. Gotham Schools has the story here.

Oddly, the NY Post didn't have news coverage but that didn't stop the editorial board from braying about the decision. The Post apparently could not pass on the opportunity to simultaneously take a swipe at two favorite targets: public school parents and Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver.


Anonymous said...

The family is a critical component to any child’s life. When it comes to education, no greater statistic stands truer today than the achievement gap between students whose parents are involved in their education process and those who do not have that support. Personal responsibility, safety and education are key elements to bringing up the next generation.

After 10 years of experience leading a volunteer program in my children’s elementary and middle schools, I launched Schools And Families Engaged (the S.A.F.E. TEAM on Campus) in 2008 to meet the needs of schools and families. Many of the school's families do not know where to begin in school. Many parents today never had an example of their parents supporting the school let alone they may not have enjoyed their personal schooling experience. Why would they have a desire to serve? You only know what you have experienced.

Make time to check out our site . On the About SAFE page, click on the 40 Developmental Assets link. This will tie in all the benefits of families and communities supporting their students both in school and out of school.

Leonie Haimson said...

This is only one among many actions the Bloomberg administration has taken to shut out the parent voice in decisionmaking. Kudos to Commissioner Mills for supporting the notion that NYC parents should have an integral role in developing the school's Comprehensive Education Plan --and for requiring the administration to adhere to the law in this regard.