Letters To The Editor
I write in response to Charles Rogers recent “View from the Middle” (9/1/05) about the Com-munity District Education Councils. Although he made reference to meetings of CDEC for District 18, as a returning member of CDEC for District 22, I am more than a little aware of many of the issues to which you referred.
Firstly, by way of background, understand that the Community District Education Councils, originally (and sometimes still), called Community Education Councils (CECs) became the entity that replaced the traditional Community School Boards, upon Mayor Bloomberg being given control of the newly named Department of Education.
For the record, the School Boards in Districts 18 and 22 were among the finest in the city, and therefore a belated shame on Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for suggesting otherwise at my CDEC’s June meeting.
As to your feeling that the CDEC for District 18 should have gotten together sooner-or-later — so as to not make the very important meeting where officers were to be elected on July 21 - in the middle of summer....and so on. Though his instinct is absolutely correct, realize that his gripe should not be against the CDEC that has to deal under this handicap, but rather should be against the mayor and DOE, which implemented this plan, and likewise, with the State Legislature that created the CDECs, because the timetable to which he refers is mandated upon the members.
Did you know that there are many impediments to impede or at least give pause to reasonable parents from wanting to jump through the DOE hoops to join a CDEC? Did you know that the financial disclosure forms required are as extensive and one might say violative of much personal financial information, often more than required for some elected political position? Remember, we’re volunteers, not high paid autocrats of the DOE.
Chuck asked why the hell do you think they terminated the 32 school boards. Well, my friend, the answer is that by replacing School Boards with the CDECs, the mayor took away the real power the
School Boards had to hire and fire the Superintendent. So, having been thusly emasculated before their very first meetings, the new CDECs are instead, what I’ve referred to as a brave new experiment- We’re not your father’s Oldsmobile, or School Board. It’s up to the individual CDEC’s to become a partner with the PA/PTA’s of the district and form a furthervpartnership with the elected officials at all levels of government, because these are brave new times, and we must remain vigilant against a Mayor who would place a phoney baloney “gifted and talented’ program in the schools and call It real progress.
We must be part of the eyes and ears of the community. All we can do is work towards what is our only and simple bottom line, which is to serve our constituency as well as we possibly can through support and creativity and teamwork, those clients, our constituents being the children and parents, period.
Be patient. I bet the CDEC/18 will not only, with time, navigate all the administrative burdens of a new organization but, indeed, become an important force in the Education of CDEC 18’s thousands of children.
Michael D. Benjamin Member,
CDEC for School District 22
A+ For The P.O.
“A-Plus” for the Canarsie Post Office. We hear a lot about Postal Service in the area.
Please be advised that “Mr. Richard” mailman for “Route #40”, which includes East 86th Street, does a fantastic, superb, and very professional job delivering our mail. He is to be highly commended for a hard job very well done.
Keep up the good work, Richard, and sincere thank you from the block.