Every Day A New Adventure
It seems that each day since early last week we have a new revelation about what our newly-redesigned school system will look like in September. While we have said in this space that we like Mayor Bloomberg’s plan, it also has to be said that we (along with anybody else who has had a relationship with the local schools) have reservations and questions. The first and foremost, of course, is how parents will access the system. Now, it is a fairly simple process. A parent who cannot get satisfaction from a local school can call the district office or speak with one of the elected local school board members about the problem, certain in the knowledge that their local representative will take the problem right to the district superintendent. Under the new system, however, who knows? Under the new plan there will be a "parent engagement committee" made up of parents whose children go to school in the old District 27 zone. How will those parents be chosen? Your guess is as good as ours. The mayor would like them elected, but hasn’t said how or when. The City Council, on the other hand, likes a plan whereby that body would choose five parents and Helen Marshall, the Queens Borough President, would choose the other four. Where will that group meet? How often will it meet? What powers will it have? How will it interact with Kathleen Cashen, the newly-selected District Five Regional Superintendent, who will sit at the Tweed Courthouse in Manhattan? Those are all questions that need to be answered. And, another question that needs to be answered, is why Rockaway schools were placed in a district with schools in Bushwick and Ocean Hill-Brownsville? Cashen, who will lead the new district is presently the Superintendent of School District 23 in Brownsville. Will the new "Learning Support Center" for District Five remain on Dean Street in Brownsville? If so, then Rockaway people will have to travel to that site to meet with the "Local Instructional Supervisor" who supervises the "cluster" that their child’s school is zoned for. See what we mean? Lots of problems, lots of questions. Will they be answered prior to September? That is only seven months away and it seems unlikely that everything will be on line when the new school year begins.