According to new city statistics, parents are less involved in their children’s public education, and the Wall Street Journal says that is only fueling Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s critics.
City officials said the decrease was due to a new data-collection system, but Bloomberg’s critics – and some possible mayoral candidates – said the numbers in the annual Mayor's Management Report mirrored what they have heard from parents.
Though Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott promised parental involvement would be a major focus during his tenure, the report found significantly less participation in workshops, phone calls and parent-teacher conferences in 2011-12 than in the previous year.
According to the paper, statistics showed that many routine interactions between educators and parents have dropped by more than 50% since the 2008-09 school year.
Last year, number of parents who attended parent-coordinator workshops fell from 459,000 in the 2010-10 school year to 267,000 last year, according to the report.
The DOE laid off 63 parent coordinators last year, who are the official point of contact for families at most schools, and made the position optional at high schools.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is likely to throw his hat in the race for mayor, called the situation "abysmal."
"For any of us that have spent weeknights sprinting between classrooms for parent-teacher conferences, it's clear that the city doesn't treat parents as real partners in educating kids," de Blasio, a parent of two public school children, told the paper.
City spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua blamed a new method collecting statistics from parents that focused only on the most "meaningful interactions" for the decrease.
What do you think? If you are an active parent in your child’s school, do you feel frustrated by inactive parents? If you don’t participate in your child’s school, is it because you feel it’s too difficult to get in touch with administrators? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.