Thursday, June 15, 2006

Replace LSCs...With What?

From the District 299 Chicago Public Schools blog.

There are a lot of people who think that LCS are an essential part of public schooling in Chicago, and lots of others who think they're often a nightmare.

However, coming up with a replacement won't be easy, as this NYT article points out. NYC replaced its version of LSCs about four years ago, but so far at least they may not be working out.

Link: Report Finds Unhappiness With City's Parent Units - New York Times.
Here's some items from the NY Times article...

Mr. Stringer's office did a telephone survey of about 70 percent of the 56 members of Manhattan's parent councils in April and May, and found that in many areas, the councils were not performing as state law requires, according to a report by his office to be released today.

For example, the state requires the councils to prepare a yearly school district report card, publicizing information on standardized test scores and other data. The report found that 61 percent of those surveyed did not know what a district report card was, or said that their council had not developed one this year.

Discontent with the 32 parent councils has been simmering since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg created them four years ago to replace the community school boards. The boards were abolished after a history of patronage and corruption. Mr. Stringer was on the Education Committee when he served in the State Assembly, and his seizing on the issue is a sign that the complaints are starting to receive the attention of policymakers.

"This is just failure at the most basic level," he said in an interview.

The report says the City Department of Education has not trained council members, as state law requires, and has also not given members basic information about other parent leaders. The result of the isolation and poor training, the report says, is that attendance at council meetings, even by members, is low. Forty-two percent said their council fell short of making a quorum at least once this past year. Seventy-one percent said at least one of their members had resigned.

Kelly Devers, a department spokeswoman, said participation rates for parent councils were not lower than they had been on the boards. "While our rates are certainly low, and it's something we're improving, I think it's disingenuous to suggest that they're not a huge improvement from before," she said.

In a statement, she wrote that council members had been provided with many opportunities to receive training.
But Michael Propper, who plans to step down as president of the council in District 2 in Manhattan, said, "I just don't see the parents working well together, and it's because the parents don't understand the system."

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