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Who's In Charge
March 7, 2019
As mayoral control debate heats up, de Blasio takes concerns about parent input ‘very seriously’
In City Hall’s first rally to drum up support for the extension of mayoral control of city schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged concerns from state lawmakers that parents need more of a voice in how schools are governed.
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October 10, 2018
Next in the Upper West Side and Harlem integration push: encouraging parents to explore their options
Standing before a classroom of parents crammed into child-sized chairs, Principal Claudia Aguirre launched into her pitch for P.S. 149 Sojourner Truth, a…
July 25, 2018
After a battle to integrate middle schools, parents turn their attention to Harlem
Along a stretch of brick wall at P.S. 180 Hugo Newman, a massive mural proclaims “Young, gifted, and Harlem.” The sunny…
August 30, 2017
Will a brand new building help integrate an Upper West Side school? P.S. 191 is about to find out.
Manhattan’s P.S. 191 will start the school year with a new building, a new name and new educational programs. The question is whether…
May 12, 2017
Upper West Side parents gather to tackle middle-school integration
Community members on the Upper West Side are turning their attention to another integration battlefield: middle schools.
December 13, 2016
After a school in Harlem is saved, parents and community leaders turn their attention to broader issues
A proposal to merge P.S. 241 STEM Institute in Manhattan has kicked off a broader conversation about school equity in District 3.
November 22, 2016
Lawyer for Lincoln Towers residents blasts Department of Education over Upper West Side rezoning
In a letter sent to city officials, the attorney, Matthew Delforte, wrote that the parents still have concerns about the process and the data used to draw up the plan.
October 24, 2016
Parent group says Upper West Side rezoning proposal violated open meetings laws
A parent coalition says the Community Education Council in District 3 did not have authority to draft its own rezoning proposal.
October 19, 2016
Drowned out of Upper West Side rezoning battle, desegregation advocates fight for a broader plan
"We don’t want it to be taken off the table. We don’t want rezoning to be the end result.”
October 18, 2016
Rebuffing city’s plans, local education council offers its own vision for controversial Upper West Side rezoning
“We intend to control our own fate. We will not have a plan dictated to us by the Department of Education, by City Hall."
April 13, 2015
Proposal would let pre-K parents join local education councils
The change would let pre-K parents apply for spots on the city's 32 district Community Education Councils, which are currently open to K-8 parents.
February 27, 2015
Ahead of Albany debate, parents push for a bigger role in mayor-controlled school system
The forum included many members of the city’s 32 community education councils, who said their input on critical issues has been routinely ignored.
April 23, 2014
Email to the editor: State budget protest coverage inadequate
Two weeks ago, members of the city’s Community Education Councils protested the state budget deal outside the New York Public Library and then marched to Gov. Andrew…
November 20, 2012
Rockaway families say they're worried air isn't safe for students
Debris and packed sand fills a street near the the beach in Belle Harbor a week after the storm hit. Three weeks after the storm, concerns are setting in about how poor air quality could affect students. Parents at schools just beginning to recover from Hurricane Sandy are concerned that worsening air quality on the Rockaway peninsula could pose a health concern for students who return. At a meeting Monday night for families in District 27, which includes many hard-hit neighborhoods, a parent leader said children at her newly reopened school arrived with masks to protect them from pollution caused by the storm. The parent leader, Alexandra Siler, said she sent her daughter to P.S. 317 with a protective mask on Monday, the school's first day back after two weeks in a temporary location, even before two students there experienced respiratory distress after coming in from recess. One P.S. 317 student was hospitalized Monday, a Department of Education spokeswoman said. Siler said the school also called an ambulance for a second child but that a parent arrived to pick the student up first. The hospitalized child, who Siler said was in pre-kindergarten, is feeling better and is now in stable condition, according to the department spokeswoman. Propelled by $200 million in emergency funding, the department has reopened 20 severely damaged schools on the Rockaway peninsula in the past week. The rapid restoration has meant that thousands of students no longer have to travel long distances to get to cramped temporary sites that sometimes lacked even basic classroom resources. But it also means that students are returning to school buildings that are surrounded by blocks of waste and sandy debris.
May 23, 2012
Sensing new political possibility, parent leaders prep campaigns
Parent leaders, from left: Sam Pirozzolo, Jesse Mojica, of the DOE; Juan Pagan, Noah Gotbaum, and Ocynthia Williams (Credits: samforassembly.com; Facebook) A handful of parent leaders are exploring their political viability for the upcoming election cycles, hoping to tap into a growing dissatisfaction with the city's handling of the school system. Previously, the parents have held seats on their school's parent-teacher association or served top posts on their district's Community Education Councils. Some are seasoned organizers and have family histories steeped in New York City politics. Still others are looking beyond the five boroughs as a way to influence education policy. Two have declared for State Assembly races this fall, but most at the city level have yet to open campaign chests or secure any key endorsements. Few have connections to the political organizations that frequently power candidates into office. But they are testing the waters and, in interviews, they share a common gripe when speaking about their pursuit of a higher office. "We've been completely marginalized by the current administration," said Noah Gotbaum, who said he is considering a run in the already crowded race for public advocate, a position his stepmother, Betsy Gotbaum, occupied from 2001 to 2009. (His father, Victor Gotbaum, headed DC-37, one of the city's largest unions, for two decades until 1987.) "The DOE flat out ignores parents across the board," said Sam Pirozzolo, a parent council president from Staten Island who is actively campaigning for State Assembly this year. It's just one part of a larger, if uncoordinated, organizing effort by groups seeking greater influence over policy decisions once Mayor Bloomberg departs after 12 years in office. Last week, a coalition of unions and advocacy groups announced it would work to galvanize opposition to Bloomberg's least popular policies, which include closing troubled schools and expanding the number of charter schools, in the mayoral race.
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