2003-09-12 / Editorial/Opinion

Schools Open, And It’s A Whole New Ballgame

Schools Open, And It’s A Whole New Ballgame

School is open. That is something that we write about each year around this time. This school year, however, the school opening is anything but normal, and nobody, including the people charged with making the massive changes that the mayor has wrought work for kids, is sure just what is going to happen. One professor of education likened the changes that were implemented this week to building a machine and not being sure that all the parts would work when you throw the on-switch. That sounds just about right. There are so many new parts to the machine that nobody is sure just how they will work, individually or in concert with other parts. Although a District 27 School Superintendent still exists, that title is mostly in name only, a sop to the agreement forced by local legislators who were angry that local school boards were deleted. The real boss for Rockaway’s schools is Kathleen Cashin, the Region Five Superintendent. While school boards still exist, and will continue to do so until early next year, when Community Education Councils begin their work. If they begin their work. There is some question over whether the federal government will allow the members of those councils to be chosen without an election, as is the present plan. There is now a Parent Coordinator at each school, armed with a brand new cell phone to take parent calls. We have tried to get the names and cell phone numbers of those who are involved with Rockaway schools, to no avail. Each Region also has a Supervisor of the Parent Support Office. We have tried to reach Judith Dean, the supervisor of that office, but have not been able to get through despite repeated calls. If this all sounds familiar, it should. It is more like the old system than the brave, new world that the chancellor and the mayor promise. To be fair, it is really too early to knock the changes. We have to give it time to work. We just hope that it does.

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