2009-04-10 / Community

Education Department Urges Parents To Cast 'Straw Vote'

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Deputy Mayor Dennis M. Walcott have announced the opening of the election period for the City's 34 Citywide and Community Education Councils (CECs).

For the first time, the CEC election is open to all New York City public school parents, who are invited to cast "straw votes."

According to State law, only parents who are officials of Parent and Parent-Teacher Associations may vote in the official CEC elections held in May. This year, in response to parent advocates and in an effort to ensure that CEC selections reflect the views of more parents in each district, the Department of Education modified the election so that the official CEC electors can make their selections based on the results of the all-parent straw vote. Parents can vote for their CEC members by visiting www.powertotheparents. org.

The election will run through April 22.

CECs are elected parent bodies that provide support to their local schools and consult with the Department of Education on educational policy in their districts. There is a CEC in each of the City's 32 community school districts as well as a Citywide Council on Special Education and a Citywide Council on High Schools. In March, more than 500 public school parents applied to be candidates for their CECs. Families in each district then had an opportunity to meet their candidates at local question-and-answer forums. A list of all CEC candidates, along with brief biographies, can be found online at www.powertotheparents.org.

"Joining your local Community Education Council is one of the most important ways parents can advocate for their children and help shape their district's educational policies," Chancellor Klein said. "We've changed the election process to make it more inclusive than ever before, so that all parents have a say in who gets chosen for this important role."

"Our administration is always looking for ways to support and bolster parent involvement in schools," Deputy Mayor Walcott said.

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