THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK
JUNE 7, 2007 ***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Contact: Joe McNearney, 917.495.7705
EDUCATION CHAIR ROBERT JACKSON, PARENTS AND EDUCATION ADVOCATES
PUSH FOR REAL PARENT ENGAGEMENT IN SCHOOLS
Parent and Community-Based Groups Organize Citywide in Response to Major Changes
City Hall, NY*Councilmember Robert Jackson, Chair of the Council's Education Committee and Co-Chair of the Council's Black, Latino & Asian Caucus, today announced the Parent Engagement Initiative, a budget proposal aimed at both significantly increasing the participation of numerous parent constituencies Citywide in their children's educational experience and navigating the complex system resulting from numerous restructurings.
"Parents must have a strong, independent voice in our City*only through this empowerment can we truly move towards a system of excellence, " said Chair Jackson. "Especially vital in this time of major school system restructuring, parent groups will organize and provide parents the information and assistance they need. By encouraging parents to be engaged in their child's education, this Initiative expands a core feature of a healthy school system."
Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, which runs a Citywide parent helpline, said "With all of the changes that will take place in September, parents will need advice and assistance more than ever. Councilmember Jackson's Parent Engagement Initiative is critical to getting parents the information they will need to cope with the inevitable confusion."
"The Council's foresight helped ensure translation and interpretation services in schools for non-English-speaking parents, " said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. "Now, this precedent-setting parent initiative will create an infrastructure where the Council, in partnership with community groups, will help ensure that thousands of immigrant and other parents will have the information and tools they need to navigate the school system and become advocates for their children's education."
Calling for $3.2 Million in new and continued funding, the Parent Engagement Initiative includes five major components:
1. Jill Chaifetz Citywide Parent Helpline * Established last year with Council funding, this bilingual
helpline has assisted tens of thousands of parents in resolving school issues and seeking advice
on programs offered. Increased funding this year would provide multilingual services and hours.
2. ASPIRA Parent Leadership Academy * This new program will organize parents in 20 school
districts to create centers of parent engagement training and support services, including topics like
the home-school relationship model, parent leadership skills and student performance standards.
3. New York Immigration Coalition * 24 immigration and education groups will conduct multilingual
outreach, hold information workshops and ensure these parents have a voice.
4. Parent to Parent of New York State * Parents of children with disabilities will be empowered to
advocate on behalf of their child through trainings on Parent and Professional Collaboration,
Advocacy Skills, Medicaid Service Coordination and Home Medical Care.
5. United Parents Associations * Professional development for parents, utilizing the model of parent
leaders teaching other parents, will increase parent ability to navigate the school system.
Workshops at the Citywide and Borough levels will demystify the DOE's reorganization
and the new assessment, accountability and funding initiatives.
The groups included in the Initiative are: Advocates for Children, ASPIRA of New York, The New York Immigration Coalition, Parent to Parent and United Parents Associations.