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N.Y.C. School System Wants More Parents to Run for Education Councils

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New York City's Department of Education is looking for a few good parents.

Carmen Fariña, the city's schools chancellor, announced an advertising and information campaign Feb. 11 to encourage more parents to run for positions on community and citywide education councils.

Fariña is trying to raise the profile of education council elections to attract a broader cross-section of parents for these positions. In a news release, the department stressed that council positions have no language requirements. Fariña has emphasized the need to encourage more parent involvement since she became chancellor in 2014.

"We are our kids' fiercest advocates, and education councils allow us to ensure that their academic needs are met," Arlenis Morel, a member of Community Education Council 24, said in the release.

There are 32 community education councils throughout the city. Each district-level council has 12 members, which includes nine parents, who advise the district superintendent on education and policy issues. Four citywide councils represent specific student populations, including special education students and English-language learners.

"Education councils provide parents a voice in public education and an opportunity to make grassroots-level impact in their school districts," Jesse Mojica, executive director of the Department of Education's Division of Family and Community Engagement, said in the release.

The Department of Education is hosting a variety of forums and has developed a website to inform parents about their roles on education councils and advise them about election process. Three officers from each school's Parent Association and Parent Teacher Association vote for council members in April and May. The Department of Education also will offer training and leadership development sessions for council members to help them effectively share their ideas and opinions. 

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