Beth Fertig is WNYC’s Contributing Editor for Education. She previously covered politics, which included City Hall during the Giuliani administration, and the U.S. Senate campaigns of Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton. She also covered transportation and infrastructure.
Manhattan Borough President: Ed Dept Should Suspend Parent Elections
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
The city's local parent elections are so botched that the Department of Education should suspend them, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said.
Stringer wrote a letter to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott saying he's heard numerous complaints from parents who tried to run, or vote, for the community education councils.
"How do you drop candidates from the ballot?" he asked. "How do tell people they are not eligible to run when in fact they are? How do you put out a voter guide and the candidates are missing from the guide?"
"If I was running for Congress, a major public office, this would just absolutely be such a scandal and it would be halted," she said. "This is a statutory office governed by law. ... It is really no different."
The city's Department of Education said the names of all candidates are now online and visible to everyone, after initially being impossible to view without a password.
But Stringer said he also heard complaints from parents who had trouble voting online because they didn't have their child's student identification numbers.
"Borough President Stringer and I are both passionate about doing what’s right for students and we will continue to work together to increase parent engagement in our schools," Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of parent involvement in our schools and the Office for Family Information and Action will take all necessary steps to ensure that all of our parents have an opportunity to cast a vote in the CEC elections by May 7th."
Public school parents have until Saturday to choose their favorite candidates. Their votes are considered advisory because community education council members are actually chosen by PTA leaders who get to vote starting next week.