Wednesday, September 19

2007-08 the year of parent engagement?

We can hope so. If recent experience with the DOE is any guide, though, it's more likely to be merely the week of parent engagement.

Today, Chancellor Klein, along with Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy CEO Martine Guerrier, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Alonta Wrighton, principal of PS 11 in Brooklyn, held a feel-good press event to announce the DOE's newest family engagement efforts. The highlights: the creation of District Family Advocates to replace the old Parent Support Officers; Guerrier's office's "year-long, citywide public information campaign," soon to be found on subways and buses; expansion of access to translation services; and better support for the Community Education Councils.

I hope these much-needed improvements make a difference for parents who have felt for years that the DOE d
oesn't adequately address their questions and concerns. But how will the DOE make sure that these engagement efforts pay off? Remember, as the press release points out, "principals will be evaluated in part based on the effectiveness of their School Leadership Teams, half of which is comprised of parents."

Oversight is a central issue at two meetings tomorrow focusing on the DOE's parent engagement initiatives. The City Council's education committee is holding a hearing on the initiatives starting at 10 a.m. (Map) and the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council also has parent engagement on the agenda for its 10 a.m. meeting in Tweed, where Guerrier and Klein are expected to appear (Map). We hear there may also be some kind of press event on the steps of City Hall at 11 a.m. It looks like it will be a busy morning for the DOE's parent engagement gurus --
we'll let you know what we find out from those meetings, but if you are able to go, please let us know your take as well!

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