Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Betsy Gotbaum Mail

From: "Betsy Gotbaum"
Subject: BG Mail
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 15:44:43 -0400

April 11, 2006

Gotbaum Joins Rallies in Support of Immigrants� Rights

Last Saturday, I addressed thousands of New Yorkers who marched from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan in support of immigrants� rights. All around me, I saw hard-working men and women who have come here because America is known around the world as a land of hope and opportunity. Now, we are calling on America to live up to its reputation. Instead of going on vacation, Congress needs to grant these men and women the opportunity to qualify for legal status and realize the American dream.

The majority of Americans want to give our immigrant population the right to stay here permanently because they understand that it�s not just in immigrants� best interests; it�s in our best interests, too. Cities with large immigrant populations have faster economic growth and lower unemployment. Across this country, companies that would otherwise be closing their doors are growing thanks to the hard work of immigrants. It�s time for them to be recognized as Americans.

Later today, I will once again voice my support for immigrants� rights at a rally at City Hall, part of a National Day of Action on this important issue.

Gotbaum Talks Schools with Concerned Parents

Last Monday, I attended a town hall in Staten Island sponsored by Robert Jackson, Chair of the City Council�s Education Committee, to talk about the state of the borough�s schools with concerned parents. Later in the week, I met with members of the Chancellor�s Parent Advisory Committee (CPAC), an advisory group of parent volunteers. I told both groups that the DOE has to do a much better job of getting parents involved in the decision-making process. By giving up their free time to participate in town halls and CPAC, parents are showing how important their children�s education is to them. The DOE should be listening to their concerns and doing everything it can to make the system more responsive to their needs.

I also discussed the work I did in my first term monitoring the Department of Education�s response to school safety. During that time, the DOE repeatedly revised its suspension policy, yet our schools, our students, and our teachers didn�t get any safer. Serious, repeat offenders were suspended only to be sent back to their old classrooms to cause trouble again and again. Even relatively safe high schools are not immune from violent crimes committed just off school grounds. For education reform to work, the DOE has to get school safety right.

Gotbaum to DOE: School Leaders Deserve a Fair Contract

Another important step the DOE can take to improve our schools is to take care of the men and women on the front lines of education, keeping our children safe, making sure the buses pick them up on time, working with teachers and parents, supervising everything from the food in the cafeteria to after-school programs. Last Wednesday, I joined representatives of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) to demand a fair, competitive contract for our school administrators.

New programs and bureaucratic reforms are not enough to make our schools better. Without good school leaders, we can't have good schools. No one cares more about our children�s education than the principals and administrators charged with overseeing it. All they want is to be able to do their jobs, but to do their jobs, they need support and respect. They need a contract now.

Have a Great Week,
Betsy Gotbaum

New York City Public Advocate

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