Friday, November 18, 2011

Josh Karan on the DOE's new Parent University

Chancellor Wolcott has announced that in the next half year he will be establishing an NYC public school parent training program which he calls Parent University. 

Ostensibly, this is his attempt to fulfill the promise made by the DOE two years ago in return for the NYS legislature renewing Mayoral Control of the NYC school system.
Little information about the content of the training has been disclosed, but there has been some description about helping parents learn how they can help their children with homework, navigating the escalating number of available middle and high school choices, and knowing HS graduation requirements.  I believe all of these are important matters for parents to know about.
However, all of these address contending with a system that increasingly diminishes the possibility of most families in this city to obtain a meaningful education for their children.
Matters pertaining to funding, curricula, teacher and administrator preparation, school lunch, having not been mentioned, seemingly are not areas that parents attending Parent University will be exposed to.  Therefore, the diploma received by these parents is likely to be as vacuous as the diploma that those of their children who graduate NYC high schools receive.
Why is it that the content of this University's courses is being left up to the DOE without involvement by parents and the community which it is supposed to serve?
Who will be making the decisions about this content, its structure, and where the program will be offered? Why is it being done in secret?
As a matter that was legislated by the New York State Senate and Assembly, should not there be a mandate that a broader grouping be involved in such decisions?  One of the holdouts for the Parent Training Program, who was reluctant to totally endorse reauthorization of Mayoral Control without what seemed to be a vehicle for increasing parent involvement, was then State Senator, now Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. 
Since the establishment of the Parent Training Program is New York State law, could not the now Attorney General issue guidelines on the implementation of that program, asserting that it is contrary to the legislation that he helped pass to leave such decisions wholly in the hands of the DOE?
I wish to generate a discussion about these questions, and begin to attract a working group that will seek to present alternative proposals about what an officially created and funded parent training program should include.  This is not the DOE's program; Chancellor Klein fought against this proposal.  This is the program that our communities demanded as a rock bottom minimum for the retention of Mayoral Control.
It is occurring 3 years after it was promised.  We should now be part of the planning for its establishment.
I would like to bring together anyone else who would like to work on this issue, so that in the next 2-3 months we can create an outline that we can organize around to be the basis for a NYC Public School Parent University.
Please contact me if you wish to participate in this effort. --   Josh Karan;, 917-923-2584
For the second year in northern Manhattan, Josh Karan is conducting a District 6 Parent Advocacy Training Program, with funding from the offices of New York City Council members Robert Jackson & Ydanis Rodriguez.


Anonymous said...

Parent training program and Parent University? The whole concept sounds really demeaning to parents from my perspective...

Bill Gunlocke, a city reader said...

You might find some insight in this blog/newsletter. It's about the city's school kids and reading.