School System Changes

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Unite Bedford-Stuyvesant Parents
With the new school year under way, parents from the old Community School District 16 are meeting and evaluating how the restructured school system is affecting their children’s learning. Gone are the days when principals, with the input of teachers, set instruction and core curriculum. Under the current structure, all but slightly more than 200 schools are required to follow a standardized curriculum. Some parents have complained that this approach might place all schools in a strait jacket . Only one school in Bedford-Stuyvesant landed on this list of schools exempted from teaching this new uniform curriculum.
The curriculum change and how the new reading and math coaches at each school will be integrated into the daily instruction remain an area of skepticism for many parents. With almost a month into the school year behind us, parents do not have answers to these and many other questions regarding content and learning material.
The Bed-Stuy Parent Union of Central Brooklyn Churches-an independent organization composed of parents and churches in the community-is holding weekly meetings in preparation of an Education Summit to be held at the Universal Baptist Church, 7:00 p.m., 3 November 2003. According to this group, many parents surveyed are unaware of the new changes in the Department of Education. District 16 is now part of Region 8 with its administrative office-known as a learning center-located at 131 Livingston Street. In fact, some parents did not know that each school will be staffed with a parent coordinator, designed to address parents’ complaints.
June Cuffee described the role of the Bed-Stuy Parent Union this way, “If you don’t know, come learn and if you do know, come teach.” Our breakfast meetings are designed for parents to share concerns and problems and identify ways of getting the school system to be more responsive to parents’ demands. The Education Summit will be a forum for parents to unite around a new education agenda for Bedford-Stuyvesant. The superintendent of Region 8, Carmen FariZa, will be there to respond to parents’ concerns.