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Assemblywoman Barbara Clark praised Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for passing a school reform initiative with some needed alterations from the initial planincluding a change that will replace community school boards.
According to Clark, the legislation that she and her colleagues have passed, under the "Children First" initiative, provides a number of important changes that will allow the program to move forward while ensuring a voice for parents.
The most significant change replaces the citys 32 community school boards with the Community District Educational Councils (CDEC).
"This legislation ensures that the mayor and chancellor have a clean slate as they work to ensure a better education for all of the citys children," Clark said.
Clark feels it necessary for parents to get more involved in their childrens education.
"The ball is now in their court," she said. "The statutory authority enabling parents to impact their childrens education means that parents must be aware of their new responsibilities and get organized."
The CDEC will consist of 11 voting members and one non-voting member. Nine of the voting members will be parents whose children are attending a school within the community school district and two will be appointed by the borough president. The one non-voting member is a high school senior.
The CDECs will be called upon to promote achievement of educational standards, participate in annual training and continuing education programs, and prepare a yearly school district report card.
The CDEC will submit a performance report every month to the city board, conduct regular communication with the local parents and parent-teacher associations, hold monthly public meetings with superintendents, develop and implement a process for community input, and create liaisons with school leadership teams and provide assistance to them whenever possible.
The "Children First" initiative also establishes a citywide council on special education to advise and comment on any educational or instructional policy involving special education.


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