Serving more than one million students,
The Borough President appoints one of 13 members to the City’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), which is responsible for approving standards, policies, objectives, and regulations directly related to educational achievement and instruction. Eight of the 13 members are appointed by the mayor.
The Borough President also appoints members to Community Education Councils (CECs), of which there are thirty-two city-wide. These councils are made up of parents and community members and, in theory, are responsible for helping to promote the achievement of educational standards and objectives pertaining to the instruction of students. Each Borough President is responsible for appointing two community representatives to each council in his or her borough. In
Since coming into office, the Borough President has taken the following initiatives to improve
In 2007 the Borough President appointed a seasoned parent advocate as his representative to the PEP. He also released an investigative report, Parents Dismissed: An Analysis of Manhattan’s Community Education Councils and the New York City Department of Education’s Role in Engaging Parent Leaders, demonstrating that the Department of Education has failed to provide legally-mandated support and training for parents serving on Community Education Councils. He is continuing to pressure the DOE to provide the CECs with the resources and training that would allow them to do their job.
Released We Want You(th)!, Confronting Unregulated Military Recruitment in New York City Public Schools, a report showing that in some New York City schools, recruiters from the U.S. Armed Services are using class time for a military sales pitch, in clear violation of Department of Education policy. The report also concluded that the DOE is not doing a sufficient job of informing students and parents that they can opt out of federal requirements to have their personal contact information supplied to recruiters. I issued a series of recommendations the DOE should adopt to protect students’ privacy and to keep recruiters from taking over instructional time.
To help ensure that parents have the tools to improve their children’s school experience, in 2007 the Borough President held “Getting the Most Out of NYC Schools,” a conference for parents where they received information and advice on topics including choosing the right high school, planning for college, school fundraising, and how to get services for special needs students and English language learners.
He created the Manhattan Borough President’s Youth Sports League, which serves more than 1,000 children with much needed after-school activities.
He has continued his long-standing advocacy for the full implementation of the mandated HIV and comprehensive sexuality education health curriculum in
schools, New York City
Ongoing Issues of Concern
Public engagement – especially the sustained involvement of parents – continues to be an area of concern in our school system. Despite the placement of a parent coordinator in every school, the creation of CECs, and the hiring of a Chief Family Engagement Officer at DOE, there continues to be wide-spread sentiment that parental and public involvement is not a priority of the current administration.
The Achievement Gap
New York City’s public school system has seen some improvement in recent years: in certain grades student achievement on standardized reading and math tests has posted notable gains; a modest gain in the high school graduation rate has been achieved; there is an ambitious capital plan that seeks to address overcrowding and facility deterioration; the number of gifted and talented and bilingual programs has increased; and additional accountability measures have been put in place.
Despite this progress, far too many students lack the most basic skills in reading and math. Today, less than half of 8th graders can read, write, and do math at grade level. In
The chancellor has called tackling this achievement gap the major impetus behind new accountability and assessment measures and the most recent re-organization of the system. Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, school regions ceased to exist in
It remains to be seen whether these changes in structure and funding will help close student achievement gaps. Likewise, it remains to be seen if the City’s new pilot program to pay parents and students for improved standardized test scores and good attendance will improve student performance.
Office of Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer • 212.669.8300
1 Centre Street, 19th Floor • New York, NY 10007 • © Copyright 2006
The Manhattan Borough Presidentís Office is an Equal Opportunity Employer.