Thursday, September 20

Liveblogging the City Council hearing: Council members react

Council Member Lew Fidler nailed the central parent engagement issue this morning when he pointed out about Guerrier, members of the Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy staff, and parent coordinators, "There is a huge fatal flaw. Each is hired and answerable to the DOE, not parents. ... You [Guerrier] felt the need to defend the rigid position of the DOE, not advocate for parents, and that's a problem." Fidler got applause for this statement, and he deserved it.

While being questioned by council members, Guerrier gave a few more details of the precise role parent bodies will play this year. They will help decide "how school closures happen" and where charter schools and new schools are sited based on community needs. She agreed with Council Member Vallone's characterization of those discussions in the past as "a dog and pony show."

Guerrier wants to train School Leadership Teams and help Parent Associations do better outreach to get more parents involved. Guerrier also revealed that one reason the DOE's new parent engagement website is not up yet is that developers are working on allowing parent associations to disseminate audio and video of their meetings online. In general, she said, parents should be making the decisions "that impact students directly."

Coming up: testimony from community leaders, including Advocates for Children's Kim Sweet

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