[ProgressiveEd] Jane Bedell's comments

[email protected] [email protected]
Mon, 27 Jan 2003 15:17:11 -0500

Jane Bedell, who attended the meeting and is a parent of a CPE child,
emailed the following comment:
I have a few thoughts about the meeting last week -- in no particular 
order.  Also, I'm not sure how relevant they actually are, since I am a bit 
on the outside looking in in terms of being in a room full of folks who 
have a lot of history and experience with NYC public schools and all of the 
changes that have taken place over many years.  So, anyway, take these with 
a big grain of salt.
-meeting process -- it might be valuable to structure the meeting so that 
there is some kind of information-sharing in the beginning and then break 
the large group into smaller groups to do the bulk of the "work," whatever 
the Steering Committee sees as the main work for this upcoming meeting. 
And then again as the last part of meeting, the whole group would come back 
together in some sort of a discussion.  For me big meetings have only a 
limited gain, since it's hard to stay focused in a large group, and it's 
hard to make real connections with other folks.
-content -- It seems from the discussion in the big meeting that we might 
benefit from sharpening the focus:  are we talking about the small, 
alternative schools and how to make sure they stay intact (even grow 
stronger)?  or are we talking about a general response to what we know 
about these new changes coming down from the Board, uh, oops, I mean 
Department of Education?  The strategy and tactics seems like they'd be 
slightly different depending on what our focus is.  Personally I could go 
either way.  If we are talking about focusing on the small alternative 
schools, then the constituency is more clearly defined (ie parents and 
teachers and staff of those schools).  If we're talking about a response in 
general, then the constitiuency is huge.  If the Chancellors office really 
is looking to hear about potential "networks," then this seems like 
something that might help us focus our work.    (My own personal take on 
this is that if we stay focused on "our" schools that I'd want to try to 
make sure that what we're saying is inclusive with the larger constituency, 
and not divisive.)
So, my two cents.  Like I said, disregard if this isn't relevant to the 
(As an aside, it is very affirming to be in a room with educators and staff 
and parents who express, as so many folks did last week, such real and deep 
concern about the public school system and who have the energy and the 
stamina to begin/continue taking on this important work. )
(parent of Derek, a first-grader at CPE-2)