Tuesday, June 27, 2006

BP Stringer Releases 1st Study of Community Education Councils Since Their Inception

BP Stringer Releases 1st Study of Community Education Councils Since Their Inception

Report Says DOE Violated State Law by not Providing Parents with Adequate Training and Support

(June 14, 2006) New York, NY – Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer today released the results of a ground-breaking new report on Manhattan’s Community Education Councils (CEC) that finds significant failures by the City’s Department of Education (DOE) and violations of state law as it pertains to their obligations to adequately provide support and training for the parent councils.

Stringer’s study, titled “Parents Dismissed,” is the first critical analysis of New York City’s CECs since they convened in 2004, through state law to replace Community School Boards as part of the shift to Mayoral Control over the public school system. The report finds that a striking 92% of respondents are not being trained on one or more of the CECs state-mandated functions and 61% indicated their council was not fulfilling one or more of its responsibilities mandated by New York State Education Law.

Borough President Stringer was joined at a press conference on the steps of the Tweed Courthouse by CEC members, parents and education advocates to announce the results and call on DOE to immediately take action to address the inadequacies and violations of the law pointed out in the report.

“There is no doubt parental involvement is an essential part of any child’s education,” Stringer said. “Sadly, this report shows that DOE is failing to deliver on their most basic duties and in doing so they are further quieting what is already the muffled voice of parents in our education system. The facts of this study speak loudly and resonate across the city: CECs are not performing their legally mandated functions, not receiving adequate training, are crippled by high turnover rates and low participation and DOE is to blame. It is time for DOE to face the facts, find solutions and uphold their obligation under the law to see that parents have a real seat at the table.”

Other key findings of Stringer’s report include: - 37% of CEC members did not hold or participate in legally mandated capital hearings.

42% stated their council did not make quorum at least once this past year.

92% said that 25 or fewer members of the public attend their monthly council meetings.
50% of CEC members stated that DOE has failed to provide them with contact information for other parent leaders in their district.

37% do not believe CECs meet their mission to promote parent engagement.
74% believe the CEC election process can be improved.

84% stated that CECs should have powers and duties they do not currently have.

Stringer’s report also proposed possible solutions to the problems plaguing the CECs that DOE could initiate, including:
Dedicating additional time and resources to parental engagement by taking steps such as increasing the number of staff assigned to engaging parental involvement.
Clarifying and improving CEC duties and training including the issuing of Chancellor’s regulations on training

Improving communication between DOE and CECs, other parent leaders and groups
Broadening the eligibility criteria for CEC members and selectors

Stringer’s study was based on one-on-one oral interviews with current members of Community Education Councils representing School Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Manhattan. The survey was conducted over the phone by Manhattan Borough President’s Office staff between April 13, 2006 and May 12, 2006. Participation was voluntary and the response rate was 68%.

A complete copy of “Parents Dismissed” can be read clicking here (PDF).

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