Friday, May 13, 2011

Parent Group Beat WalBloom on Parent Elections

This is really great news. GEMers have been working with Mona, Chris and Muba over the past year.

Advocates for Justice
For immediate release:   
MAY 13, 2011
PRESS ADVISORY: Press Conference -- May 13, 1:00 PM on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, New York, NY
Advocates for Justice
                        212-228-6320 x 8
Arthur Schwartz, Esq.                        917-923-8136
Chris Owens, Executive Director      718-514-4874
Mona Davids, NYC Parents Union     917-340-8987


Press conference regarding successful parent pressuring of the Department of Education to re-do advisory elections and the continued need for specific parent concerns to be addressed by the Department of Education prior to Wednesday, May 18th.


Friday, May 13, 2011, 1:00 PM


Steps of the Tweed Courthouse, 52 Chambers Street, NY
- Main office of the New York City Department of Education

  • Advocates for Justice (Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq., President; Chris Owens, Executive Director)
  • New York City Parents Union (Mona Davids, President)
  • Parent plaintiffs in the legal action (Muba Yarofulani, Faye Hodge, Julius Tajiddin, Mariama Sanoh)
  • Elected officials, including Hon. Charles Barron, Member, City Council of New York (Confirmed)
Below are excerpts from the Press Release issued yesterday regarding the new elections.

Parents Win New Education Elections 

Department of Education sets re-do of Advisory elections and pushes back later rounds of voting per NYC Parents Union demands; other issues to be resolved during the next few days   

May 12, 2011, New York, NY --- The fledgling New York City Parents Union and six other parent petitioners earned a victory today that benefits all New York City public school parents.  Based on many problems with the implementation of elections for the 36 Education Councils in New York City, the parents started legal action to block the elections, and the City of New York and the New York City Department of Education today agreed to invalidate the current election process and implement a new one commencing on Wednesday, May 18th. ... 

Advocates for Justice, a public interest law firm, represents the New York City Parents Union and other parents in this matter.  Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq., President of Advocates for Justice, stated the following:   

"The Department of Education agreed with us to re-run the Education Council elections and to make sure that all parents have an opportunity to vote -- including those without internet access -- to make sure that information about every eligible candidate is available prior to the commencement of voting, and to resolve all eligibility issues before the voting begins, rather than afterwards.  Although there are still details to be worked out, some of which could result in subsequent litigation, we've put our legal action on hold.  It is our hope that the Department will work with the NYC Parents Union, all of the parents and elected officials to resolve all disputes expeditiously over the next several days."  

Ms. Muba Yarofulani, President of the President's Council District 18 in Brooklyn and a Vice President of the NYC Parents Union, stated "This day is a victorious day for the NYC Parents Union and the six petitioners who represented the previously unheard voices of all NYC public school parents. The flawed Community Education Council elections, which actually disenfranchised parents, will hopefully be done in a satisfactory and more compliant manner." ...

Chris Owens, Executive Director of Advocates for Justice and a former Community School Board member, said, "The Department of Education's action today is an excellent first step of many that are needed.  There remains room for improvement in the Education Council selection process and ideas have been put forward by many people.  The Department of Education should make every effort to make these elections the best they can be and not just 'good enough.'  In the long run, this may require changing the State's education law as well.  Parents deserve to have their voices heard all of the time and not just during crises or through legal action."  ...

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Advocates for Justice
A Legal Foundation
275 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1760
New York, NY  10001 - 8407
212-228-6320 x 8
About Advocates for Justice
 Advocates for Justice is a not-for-profit legal foundation founded in January, 2011.  Advocates for Justice is a voice for "the Other America," the vast majority of the American people who work hard, live righteous lives, but have to struggle for survival.  Advocates for Justice is recognized as a tax-exempt public foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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