In 2002, the New York City Department of Education shifted from oversight by 32 school boards to centralized accountability to the Mayor of the City of New York. This system, known as Mayoral Control, has been in place ever since, facilitating tremendous gains by our students, including an all-time high graduation rate (as of the 2017-2018 school year) and deployment of major initiatives, including Mayor de Blasio’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda.
Mayor Control, which really means Mayoral accountability depends on students and families making their voices heard. Here are some great ways to get involved:
All NYC public schools have either a Parent Association (PA) or Parent Teacher Association (PTA). PA/PTAs advocate for students and families, update parents and families about the school, and plan and run activities for parents and families.
If you’re a parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, or foster parent, you’re automatically a member of your child’s school’s PA/PTA! This means you can fully participate in all of the functions of the PA/PTA. General Membership meetings are usually held once a month and the date, time and location of meetings should be posted at the school and/or on the school’s website.
You can also serve as a PA/PTA Officer. Officers are responsible for conducting meetings, events and activities, and developing and managing PA/PTA budgets. Officers are elected by the membership every year in the spring.
Community Education Councils (also known as CECs) are a critical part of NYC’s school governance structure. There is a Community Education Council (CEC) for every community school district. There are also four Citywide Councils:
Citywide Council on High Schools (CCHS)
Citywide Council on Special Education (CCSE)
Citywide Council on English Language Learners (CCELL), and
Citywide Council for D75 (CCD75)
CECs work to promote student achievement, advise and comment on educational policies, and provide input to the chancellor and the Panel for Educational Policy. They hold monthly public meetings with the superintendent to discuss the state of schools in the district, review the district’s educational programs and assess their effect on student achievement, participate in public hearings on school closings, co-locations, and capital improvements, and host Chancellor’s Town Halls for their districts. Citywide Councils issue annual reports on how their represented populations are being served and also advise and comment on policies affecting these represented populations.
Education Council members are elected every two years by PA/PTA Officers, and all members serve a two-year term. Although members are elected, all Education Council meetings are open to all parents and members of the public. The DOE’s calendar lists upcoming meeting dates.
The Mayor and Chancellor have embarked on a five-borough parent empowerment tour to hear first-hand from parent leaders about their priorities for the school system. These events are held at schools around the city.
It’s a chance for appointed and elected parent leaders from across each borough to communicate their thoughts, questions, and concerns and heard about the new vision for the school system from the Mayor and Department of Education Leadership. Check out www.nyc.gov/parentempowerment for past events, and upcoming tour stops!
Your school staff is always available to you to answer questions, discuss your child’s educational journey, or address concerns. But don’t forget you can always send a message to the Schools Chancellor directly! Or call 311 to be connected by phone.