On a sunny Saturday morning in early March, around 40 parents — mostly mothers — sat in a small room in a downtown Brooklyn office building at desks arranged in rows. They faced a screen emblazoned with the words "Power and Authority."
Courtesy of the New York City Department of Education Chancellor Carmen Fariña announces the start of the CEC application process in February.
"When you think about authority, what do you think about?" asked Claudette Agard, a parent leader with the Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ), an organization that fights for equality in New York City's schools.
"Control!" one mother called out. "Government!" another added. "Política," offered one woman, who wore an earpiece so she could hear the Spanish translator speaking through a headset at the back of the room.
"Do you think about authority figures?" Agard continued. "What authority figures do you think of?"
"Parents," a woman responded.
"Ooh, I like that!" Agard shot back.
The parents were attending the CEJ's first Parent Power School of 2015. The program began two and a half years ago with the goal of helping parents with children in public schools across the five boroughs understand the city's school system. "It's kind of morphed into a much more robust way of having in-depth discussions about what's happening in the city and why," said the group's coordinator, Natasha Capers.More »