2003-03-01 / Editorial/Opinion

Is School Reorganization Good For Rockaway?

Is School Reorganization Good For Rockaway?

The school reorganization plan is moving full speed ahead. We have been told that Matt Bromme, our most recent superintendent of schools has already moved on to Tweed Courthouse, to be replaced, at least for now, by his deputy, Michelle Lloyd Bey. District 27 schools will soon be part of the newly-created Division Five, led by Kathleen Cashin. Division Five schools will include those now in Bedford Stuyvesant and in Ocean Hill-Brownsville as well as those Rockaway and mainland schools that now make up District 27. At the end of June, the 32 schools boards will be disbanded and will be morphed into 32 District Education Councils, which would be made up of nine parents and 2 "civic leaders." The parents would be chosen by parent groups, although nobody is quite sure how that would be done. The two civic leaders would be chosen by the borough president. Leadership teams in each school would be revamped from the present mandate that an equal number of parents and school staff be on the team to a system whereby the parents must outnumber the school staff by at least one member. While we like the overall plan, there are a number of issues that still need to be resolved and other settled issues that set off alarms. First of all, we would worry about the new Division that Rockaway schools have been placed within. Why Brooklyn schools and failing Brooklyn schools at that? A more natural alliance would be formed with schools in District 29, in District 25 and in District 28? The obvious reason is that our district office, an Ozone Park office building that costs the city $600 thousand a year in rental costs, is in the center of the new Division and will be its educational learning center. Equally important, we would argue that we would no more want to see parents in charge of a school leadership team than we would like to see patients in charge of a hospital, nor would we like to see politicians appoint anybody to a parent involvement committee. Those issues need to be addressed. We do not want to see this massive reorganization harm schools rather than helping them.


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