Saturday, May 16, 2009

UPDATED: Do Charter School Parents Get Same Rights as Public School Parents ?

Coming soon:
The Next Civil Rights Struggle of Our Times – Give Charter School Parents Equal Rights.

On second thought, equal rights to whom? Urban public school parents? Well, at least they can have a PA or PTA, though their influence has also been limited under BloomKlein. Certainly not equal civil rights to suburban - read: white - parents who don't need dictatorial mayors. Or superintendents who have no educational background.

We haven't been doing much on the Community Education Council Elections that took place recently in NYC where BloomKlein spent a fortune to try to make it look like they were interested in parent outreach whereas they had basically eliminated any role the CEC's played. One of their goals was to top the low turnout in the local school board elections from what they term the bad old days of community control between 1969 and Bloomberg's takeover in 2002. The gang that couldn't shoot straight couldn't even manage that. They'll have to find another way to show the state legislature which is ruling on mayoral control other ways they show their love for parents.

[By the way, Ed Notes pats itself on the back for predicting years ago that no matter how everyone postures, especially the UFT, a continuation of mayoral control with possibly a few tweaks was a done deal.]

What people haven't been exploring is the total shut down of parents' role (other than to volunteer to clean up after the kids or being forced by Eva Moskowitz to attend rallies) in charters even beyond what has happened to public school parents in NYC. But when corporations and the wealthy own the school even though using public monies, what can you expect?

From current debate on the NYC Education News listserve:

Basic question:
Can parents of students in Charter Schools serve on CDECs? My guess is that BPs can appoint them but can they also be elected? Do Charters have any parent representation comparable to PAs or a President’s Council?

Lisa Donlon replied
In D one we have tried to get one of the three charters located in our community school buildings elected or appointed to the CEC, ever since Michael Duffy, head of the OCS, attempted to pit charter parents against district parents in a local hearing.

Martine [Guerrier] and DoE have made clear that they object to our attempt to build this bridge. They claim that since the law (the one that sunsets in June!) describes the jurisdiction of the CEC's as limited to the district's pre-K through 8th grade schools, they felt that a charter parent could not, by law, serve on a CEC.

We did put out a call to charter parents and nominated one to the MBP for appointment.
We never heard back from the MBP on that suggestion, although the seat has been empty for a year now.

Even if Charter school parents do have seats on an inside Parent Board of some kind, they are not eligible for district representation at the CDEC or Presidents Council, or at the citywide level (CPAC). Given that the centralized DoE churns out policy and procedures for 1.1 million students citywide, it is inequitable and structurally unfair to limit charter parent representation to school level at best.

Is this another divide and conquer strategy, or just one more dropped stitch in the crazy quilt of the badly written and constantly broken laws that lent the mayor control of the NYC schools 7 years ago?

Lisa Donlan
CEC One

Lisa North chipped in with:
There is a parent on the District 13 CEC who has children in both public and charter schools. In one of the charter schools, she tried to start a parent association. When she was not allowed to, she filed a lawsuit. She lost the lawsuit. It seems that there is no provision for requiring parent associations in charter schools. Lisa N.

Steve Koss said:
No local community in the country would tolerate a schools superintendent who is so dismissive of his/her constituency. As I've stated many times before, having lived for over twenty years in Westchester County, I don't know of a single town or village in Westchester that wouldn't have run a superintendent of Joel Klein's ilk out on the rails within the first year or two. What New Yorkers blithely accept as normal would never be tolerated by cities towns in Long Island or Westchester or New Jersey -- in those places, it'd be torches and pitchforks as the townsfolk marched angrily to the school district office to rid themselves of the mad doctor and his monstrous creation.

So much for that parent choice thing.

NEWS UPDATE:

LA Teachers: Shame on our NYC UFT backward bureaucrats!

Please forward. Support the militancy of teachers, students & community of LA!

End the complacency and complicity of our AFT/UFT local.

We have yet to receive one message of information or solidarity from our UFT officials about what is going on with our brothers and sisters struggling in Los Angeles.

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