Monday, February 7, 2011

"Why Aren't Parents Rioting in the Streets?"

NYC public school parent Rebecca Levey asks, "Why aren't parents rioting in the streets?" Her post, and a slightly different version of the same that appeared in Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet in the Washington Post online edition, provides specific examples of why New York City students, educators and families have been, in her view, ill-used, abused, and lied to.

Is it a call to arms? I'm not sure. I'm not there and while the specific instance that pushed her over the edge is indeed egregious, so are so many other instances of inequitable treatment in NYC and elsewhere. Ms. Levey's voice joins those on other forums, such as the NYC Public School Parents blog, Leonie Haimson's Class Size Matters, and Gotham Schools, that passionately detail what's not working in the NYC public school system and what parents and the public can do to demand and create change.

Toward the end of her piece, Ms. Levey asks what many of us have often asked herself:
I used to joke about a city where private school was not an option. How quickly would the schools change if those with the most power to change them had to be part of the system? 
No joke, Ms. Levey. I want all of us to have options to send our kids where we think is best - and among those options must be a range of strong, supportive, thriving public schools.

And related: a parent/family group worth keeping an eye on, and joining, is Parents Across America, which has gathered a strong group of activists from across the United States to assert the primacy of parents in education policy and practice. Their kickoff event featuring Diane Ravitch is happening right now in NYC. Right on. Wish I could be there. Maybe someday, Providence Schools and Beyond might be a part of such a national conversation and movement.

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