Thursday, December 01, 2005

Parents Need Not Apply

In today's NY Sun there is an article on the new school drop-out rate. No, not the students, this time it is parents who are leaving the Educational Councils at a "precipitous rate." It seems that there is a generalized resentment against the educrats and the lack of any meaningful input. As one parent leader complained, "The very strong outspoken parent leaders with the institutional memory are leaving in droves due to the frustration they've come across in these councils."

The real issue here is that the so-called reform of the schools has been a very "back to the future" effort, a reinstitution of centralized control with little concern for local voices. It remains to be seen whether this approach one that, from a public administration point-of-view, is very much like the centralized bureaucratic sclerosis of David Rogers' 110 Livingston Street, can effect the kind of significant gains that all parents would hope to see.

The higher test scores that the mayor so successfully trumpeted in his reelection bid may turn out to be simply a chimera. The top-down management approach, one that doesn't involve parents and communities, has some built-in drawbacks that are not obviated even when you bring in the so-called best and brightest to administer educational change.