[ProgressiveEd] Our communications with Mr. Klein/what to do next

Donna Nevel [email protected]
Fri, 21 Mar 2003 14:03:12 -0500

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<P>Hi all, I haven't been that involved with the group so&nbsp;please take that into account, but I have&nbsp;a few&nbsp;reactions to Beverly's letter: One is that I have a serious problem with&nbsp;basing a decision about who should attend a meeting&nbsp;on who "set up" the meeting. This is a collective process. Some of us have more access to certain people than others for all sorts of reasons. Some arrange meetings; others make phone calls to parents; still others work on flyers, etc. I think the decision should be&nbsp;based solely on who&nbsp;people think would be best&nbsp;for achieving the group's goals, and that it is as inclusive as possible. The second reaction&nbsp;I have is that I feel having a meeting is one direction to go, and the&nbsp;march is another. Some may feel one is more important than the other, but I&nbsp;believe one definitely deosn't preclude the other. In fact,&nbsp; I think the meeting will be much&nbsp;more effective if they can see (by the march) how many community membes feel strongly about this issue. I also think individual meetings can go so far and that a continued ,visible community response is always beneficial, especially when there's a situation like this where our schools--and the families who are part of them--&nbsp;have not been respected or appreciated.&nbsp; And third, I think this meeting is an opportunity to have our&nbsp;voices heard and, if it to have any potential value,&nbsp;it would be&nbsp;better to have more people, rather than just a small group. It can be very well planned in advance so people don't repeat&nbsp;things others have said and&nbsp;to make sure&nbsp;certain points are covered, but it is really an opportunity to have different communitites represented.. And&nbsp;it would be great if the meeting&nbsp;could have someone who could translate so that Latina parents could&nbsp;participate (and it wouldn't hurt for Klein to see that we're serious about being inclusive).&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Respectfully,&nbsp; Donna Nevel&nbsp; (parent at Crossroads... and Center for Immigrant Families, a community-based&nbsp;organization that works with parents and schools in District 6 and 3)<BR></P></DIV>
<DIV></DIV>&gt;From: Beverly McClain <[email protected]>
<DIV></DIV>&gt;To: <[email protected]>
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Subject: [ProgressiveEd] Our communications with Mr. Klein/what to do next 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 12:49:34 -0500 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Greetings all. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;I'm the lucky parent who had the opportunity to engage in email dialogue 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;with Mr. Klein after writing him an angry letter regarding a brush off 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;response he wrote to our PTA secretary, Sophie Sanchez. After several 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;exchanges, and to all our surprise, he then appeared at the Children's 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Workshop School (sadly, at lunchtime when kids weren't in class) on Tuesday. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;He said his reason for choosing to visit us is because CWS's parents had 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;been more vocal than any school in NYC and he wanted to see for himself why 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;we were so tenacious and devoted. As many of you have done too, we applied 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;for waivers, sent emails, and responded to the Children First survey. But we 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;also collected letters, petitions, questionaires, images of our school and 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;artwork, a student video, and other items of interest and compiled in-depth 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;3-ring binders that were distributed to him, Shelley Harwaine, and the 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;mayor. I know this presentation made an impression too. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Maria (our director) says that he was there for about an hour, and it's 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;still hard to tell what he thinks of the school and program at this point. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;He did say that he learned a lot from his visit. Main thing is we most 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;definitely have his ear, and I think it is starting to dawn on him that if 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;nothing else, the level of parent dedication and involvement in our schools 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;are HUGE assets to be appreciated and encouraged, not to be squandered. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;During our last couple of exchanges Wednesday night, after I urged him to be 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;in touch with PENNY as a group and to address our concerns, he asked who to 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;contact and sure enough�he has asked Bruce for a meeting. Since we were the 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;folks who got through to him, we feel very strongly that our director and 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;PTA president should be present at the meeting (both very diplomatic folks) 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;and agree that it should be held at one of our progressive schools...maybe 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;this time at a middle or high school. But we also think while it shouldn't 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;be too big, that several other representatives of faculty and parents from 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;other schools be there too representing the diversity of our population. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;It's my personal opinion, and the result of a unanimous PTA vote last night 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;at CWS, that we put off the TWEED march until we get a better fix on what 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Klein is willing to do to address our concerns. It makes no sense to appear 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;confrontational until the meeting(s) indicate the need. And even if we're 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;"nice" at TWEED, we just don't think it sends the proper signal when he is 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;clearly making an effort to learn more on what we're about. This isn't to 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;say that there won't be a perfect time for it in the near future, but we 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;really don't think next Wednesday is the day. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;An added advantage too is that we can all put more effort next week into 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Albany and going after Pataki, and personally, I think for the next few 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;days, that seems like the preferable place to put out energy until we see 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;how the meeting plays out. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Carol, I believe all the points you made make complete sense. Let's all keep 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;our fingers crossed. After watching his grace under fire this past Tuesday 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;night, I must say that while there is plenty to disagree with, I do think 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Mr. Klein is a decent man working very hard to get up to speed in what is a 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;big mess of a school system. I reserve the right to think differently in the 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;future but at this moment in time, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;the doubt. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Ah...a glimmer of hope at a sad sad time. 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;Beverly McClain, CWS parent 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;ProgressiveEd mailing list 
<DIV></DIV>&gt;[email protected] 
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