Tuesday, May 10, 2011

UPDATE: ELECTIONS STOPPED - Parents sue to stop Community Education Council elections

I've been too busy to keep up to date on one of the bigger scandals of the WalBlackBloomKlein administration: the attempt to stifle parent voices. CECs - the watered down version of the old district based school boards have increasingly taken an anti mayor position. So Tweed is doing what it can to kill opposition. Here is a quickie report but we'll do more when we can. Lots of good stuff on Leonie's listserve but I can't track it all down now.

THIS NEWS WAS RELEASED LATER IN THE DAY

Advocates for Justice
PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release:  MAY 10, 2011
BREAKING NEWS: Education Elections Are Stopped
Contact: 
Advocates for Justice                        212-228-6320 x 8
Arthur Schwartz, Esq.                        917-923-8136
Chris Owens, Exec. Dir.                     718-514-4874
Mona Davids, NYC Parents Union     917-340-8987

Community Education Council elections are stopped; Parents and City Attorneys meet to discuss issues

"We did agree -- and it is public information -- that the election processes for the Community Education Councils, the Citywide Council for English Language Learners, the Citywide Council for Special Education, and the Citywide Council for High Schools are on hold."

May 10, 2011, New York, NY --- Advocates for Justice, on behalf of the New York City Parents Union and six (6) parent petitioners, met this afternoon with attorneys for the City of New York and the New York City Department of Education to discuss the problems plaguing recent elections for the Community Education Councils.

Advocates for Justice President Arthur Z. Schwartz, representing the petitioners, said that "All parties agreed that the discussion and negotiations pertaining to this matter will be kept confidential at this time.  However, we did agree -- and it is public information -- that the election processes for the Community Education Councils, the Citywide Council for English Language Learners, the Citywide Council for Special Education, and the Citywide Council for High Schools are on hold.  Any information to the contrary is inaccurate."

Community Education Councils and the other citywide education councils replaced Community School Boards when Mayoral control was given to Mayor Bloomberg in 2002.  Elections take place every three years.  This year, Community Education Council candidates were to submit their names for eligibility review and possible inclusion on the ballots no later than April 22nd.  Candidate forums were to take place between April 28th and May 5th.  Each parents were then entitled to vote in an "advisory capacity" for candidates running within their child's school district and citywide.   Once the advisory elections conclude, a set of "selectors" -- officers from local Parent Associations -- would then vote for the Council members later in May.  The selectors could choose to adhere to or ignore the results of the advisory voting.  Results of the voting would have been available by the end of May.

Citing numerous problems that undermined the participation in the first phase of the election as well as the fairness of the election itself, the parent petitioners are seeking improvements in the process and a "do-over" of the first phase of voting -- the "advisory" votes.  Until the talks are resolved, the lawsuit is on hold. 

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Quick Links     


Advocates for Justice
A Legal Foundation
275 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1760
New York, NY  10001 - 8407
COwens@advocatesforjustice.net   
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.

ORIGINAL PRESS RELEASE BELOW THE FOLD



Advocates for Justice
PRESS RELEASE
For immediate release:  MAY 9, 2011
Breaking News: Meeting with City Attorneys at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, May 10th
Contact: 
Advocates for Justice
                        212-228-6320 x 8
Arthur Schwartz, Esq.                        917-923-8136
Chris Owens, Exec. Dir.                     718-514-4874
Mona Davids, NYC Parents Union     917-340-8987

Parents Sue and DOE stops flawed
 
Community Education Council elections 

"The vote last week was a sham"

May 9, 2011, New York, NY --- Today, Advocates for Justice filed papers on behalf of the New York City Parents Union and six (6) parent petitioners for a temporary restraining order to stop the flawed Community Education Council elections being conducted by the New York City Department of Education.  The hearing was scheduled for 7:00 pm this evening before Judge Shirley Heitler, Manhattan Supreme Court.  At 6:30 pm, the Department of Education's General Counsel advised the court that they will postpone the selector process voting for one week.

The Department of Education's General Counsel has just requested a meeting with the New York City Parents Union and their General Counsel, Advocates for Justice at 1:00 pm, tomorrow, May 10th.

Parents, community leaders and elected officials have written to complain to the Department of Education regarding their violation of the electoral process mandated in state education law.  Parents also pointed out that the Department of Education failed to notify parents of the elections and obstructed the process by requiring parents to have their children's New York City Identification Number to view candidates' information and vote.  Most parents had not received the identification numbers from the Department of Education at the time of voting or through the entire week of voting.

Many candidates were also deemed ineligible by the Department of Education, never informed of their ineligibility and unable to reach anyone at the Department of Education.  Other parents of "aged out" children and charter parents were eligible to run but unable to access their candidate information or vote.

Arthur Schwartz, Esq., attorney for the parents and President of Advocates for Justice stated, "The school system will only thrive with active, involved, informed parents.  The vote last week was a sham.  Parents are entitled to make an informed choice through a well-run election so that the makeup of Community District Councils reflects the parent community.  It is a shame that it took a lawsuit to get the process stopped.  Hopefully, our negotiations over the next few days will bring about a fair, democratic, informed process."

Mona Davids, President of the New York City Parents Union, stated, "For too long, parents have been ignored as the real stakeholders in our children's education. The founding of the New York City Parents Union signals a change and that parents will no longer stand by while our rights are violated and our children are used as pawns in political games.  We demand a seat at the table in determining policy and ensuring a quality education for our children."

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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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