Notes on 12/30/20 zoom conference regarding ending mayoral control, strengthening parent, student, and community empowerment, and reestablishing elected community school boards.
Lots of interesting issues were brought up. The zoom was led by Kim Watkins a public school parent who is running for Manhattan Borough President. The zoom conference was attended by a variety of constituents and stakeholders, and there were no fights. A tone of mutual respect and courtesy throughout. People were given adequate time to make their points. There was no agenda per se. Links to relevant websites, organizations, and other documents were posted in the chat (which have already been shared with you in a separate email).
Much pertinent history was shared particularly from Norm Scott. John L, Odalis, and Claudia made a variety of points throughout the conference. Odalis brought up the distressing and frustrating inequities and increasing difficulties with special education which she is experiencing firsthand as the parent of a special needs child. John L brought up the unopposed “takeover” of public schools under Bloomberg, et al, a phenomenon that occurred nationwide across many large city public school districts.
There was no representation from New Action, MoRE, ICE, or Unity at this conference. John Giambalvo who has been a guest at our meetings was present. Daniel Alicea and others gave updates on current initiatives that are taking place or are in the works regarding the main topics.
Parent empowerment was the foremost topic. Mayoral control ending seemed to be pretty much the consensus of the group. We heard about the situation regarding school nurses and how the city hired privately contracted nurses at a greater cost.
The need to address racism and segregation was brought up, and to have representation and clout in Albany where most decisions are made affecting nyc schools.
We were enlightened about the huge numbers of parent members of the UPA (United Parents Association) from the 1950’s/60’s, and how the former elected school boards in mostly minority school districts were scapegoated for the failures of the school system.
Neoliberalism as a factor in privatizing and outsourcing, essentially creating a “gig” economy of newbie teachers on annual contracts in charter schools.
Student empowerment was also discussed. Equity, Inclusion, Accountability, and Transparency were the concluding sentiments of the conference.