Brawlbany: So, What's Changed?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yesterday the NY State Senate implemented new rules on how the chamber will be run on everything from size of Senate staffs to how a bill makes it to the floor. But mayoral control remains in doubt and gay marriage and rent stabilization are no longer being seriously talked about. Liz Benjamin of Daily News updates the latest.


Liz Benjamin

Comments [10]

Aaron from Westchester

I did not mean for my comment to read that you were inferring that some parents do not care. I hope you accept my apology. Thank you for calling me out.
I very much agree with your points, especially regarding the connection between responsible reproduction and our world. As you write parents do have an enormous influence on their children's education (and their growth as people). It is because of parents' importance that I think they should have a place in the conversation about educational systems. I'd like to see schools as a communal space where we can build a responsible and caring society together. If that means having schools be a place where parents can further educate themselves too, through a group or mutual support, even better.

Jul. 16 2009 10:27 PM
Richard Johnston from Upper West Side

If the newly re-Democratized senate cannot at least bring same-sex marriage and improved rent regulations to a vote they show amply that they are the tools of special interests who pay to keep them in their cushy, do-nothing jobs.

Jul. 16 2009 07:53 PM
James B from NYC

# 6 above: "Where I differ is how he characterizes this type of involvement solely as an individual 'character' issue, that specific parents may not care."
I don't think my post questioned anyone's 'character' & I did NOT anywhere say nor wish to be construed as having even suggested that there are any parents who 'do not care' about their children, their welfare or their education.
I simply asserted that most parents have far more 'control' over their children's educational success or failure than many admit or may be aware of. Even if they themelves are not well educated, ALL parents can be more active in making their children take advantage of the education available to them by controlling how much TV they watch & how much time they spend on the 'street' as opposed to doing homework, reading etc. And many more parents could be more supportive of the educational professionals attempts create genuine learning environments by backing up teachers on issues of behavior & discipline. Additionally, many parents can help themselves to be able to be better parents by exercising more control over the number of children they bring into the world - each one of whom will be deserving of their love, nurturing & support. We should better help prospective parents understand that raising even a single child is a life-time commitment, requiring a constant draw on our attention, affections & resources. Having more children than you can afford to attend to in time or provide for in resources is a disservice to one's children as well as oneself, as well as taxing on common resources which the tax-payers have made clear are not unlimited. And having just one or two children can mean not only making it easier for parents to provide for their children & tend to their education - but will also help to ease the burden on our increasing fragile planetary eco-system. Responsible reproduction is the foundation for responsible & successful parenting, as well as good planetary citizenship!

Jul. 16 2009 07:24 PM
Aaron from Westchester

Also, a link to Boston Arts Academy (a public school), which I had cited as a positive example of the role of parental involvement, from helping students with hw to having a voice in student government:

Jul. 16 2009 05:54 PM
Aaron from Westchester

I see James' point, that all parents do have 'control' over their child's education, by how the parents value education in the home. Where I differ is how he characterizes this type of involvement solely as an individual 'character' issue, that specific parents may not care.

All parents do care, and the system must be set up in a way that promotes and honors involvement, from the policy level to parenting. Saying that parent's voices have nothing to add to the policy discussion on how school's function is problematic. First of all, it is their children being educated, and parent's have a right to be involved. Second of all, such a message, that parental input is not needed, is demoralizing. It impedes the ability of schools and families to build a trusting and productive relationship.

Additionally, what I wanted to reflect in my comment on air, but did not fully articulate, is that one of the best ways to promote student academic achievement is to give parents a role as true partners in their child's education. There is a robust body of research on this issue. This consistent finding offers a non-political approach to the issue of school governance. One no longer is making an argument about how schools should be governed in a democratic society (not that this conversation is unimportant). One is arguing for implementing a strategy that is known to increase student achievement, the main goal of our current leadership. It would be interesting if this line of argument took.
To back up my assertion on research on family involvement, check out the website for the book "Beyond the Bake Sale" published by the New Press. Specifically, look at one of the authors senate testimony, which summarizes current research (available as a link on the site). []

Jul. 16 2009 05:44 PM
James B from NYC

# 4 above - I am the first caller you refer to. I posted comments (#23) in the earlier segment with Bill Thomson on Mayoral control & parental involvement in education:

"The 'control' that more parents need to have over the education of their children is already available to them. The children who do well in school have parents who take personal responsibility for their education by encouraging reading & studying, monitoring whether they do their homework, spending more on books, encyclopedias, internet access & other learning tools rather than $200 sneakers or other 'chic or cool' apparel items & by backing up teachers on issues of behavior & discipline. Taking an active interest in your childrens' education is the kind of 'parental involvement' that will enable them to make the most of the educational resources offered by the school they attend as it is. Parental involvement to increase those resources or improve their efficiency or performance is certainly useful, but the best thing that parents can do for the educational success of their children is to take an active interest in that education. Better eating habits at home to reduce obeisity (which is now shown to be an impediment to educational achievement), less TV & 'hangin' in the 'hood, more reading & homework - ALL totally within the control of parents. Good parents already know how to help their children get the best education they can from the schools already available by valuing that education in word & deed. Parental 'control' is most needed & important in determining how their own children value education & learning - not over how the school is run or larger educational policy issues which might be better left to education professionals & teachers." And even parents who themselves are not well educated can do many of these things - as my own parents did for me!

Jul. 16 2009 12:38 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I think your earlier (1st?) caller on education laid too much blanket blame on parents. Some parents can't afford to take time off from work (possibly <1 job) to meet w/their children's teachers, or don't have enough education themselves to help their children w/their homework, or just don't know enough about how the educational system works to get their views heard.

Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone program addresses issues like these--is there any way to expand such an approach to more of the city & the state? Is this something the state legislature can promote, or remove barriers to? Or is it just not something that can be addressed at the state level?

Jul. 16 2009 12:21 PM
Alex from Brooklyn

member-items will only start next year

Jul. 16 2009 11:35 AM
hjs from 11211

please talk about how we in NYC & downstate, who are paying all the bills for the state, can get HOME RULE!

Jul. 16 2009 11:21 AM

now are those goofballs going to get paid for their brawl, or will the taxpayers at least get a financial break for forfeiting their representation?

is this question even being seriously considered -- or dismissed as "radical" hooey?

Jul. 16 2009 10:10 AM

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