While there are some local critics of the Parent Assembly meeting scheduled for Dec. 8 -- I've heard of at least one principal who doesn't want parents to attend -- apparently the White House thinks it's a pretty good idea.
The idea of the Parent Assembly, remember, is that each classroom in the district will send a parent -- that would be about 1,300 parents -- to get information first-hand about what's happening in the district, then disseminate that information with the other parents in their child's class. (Interim Superintendent Amber Dixon has directed principals to make sure they have a parent there from each of their rooms.)
Well, parent leader Sam Radford invited Arne Duncan to the meeting. Duncan can't make it, but the Department of Education is sending the person in charge of its school turnaround office.
Massie Ritch, a spokesman for the Department of Education, emailed Radford this week:
I am sorry to have been out of touch for a while, but I am returning to you with good news. The US Department of Education would be pleased to attend the forum that you and Supt. Dixon are organizing on Dec. 8 in Buffalo. Deputy Assistant Secretary Jason Snyder, who leads ED's school turnaround office, is able to participate.
We have been in touch with Supt. Dixon, who welcomes our participation, and I will leave it to you and the school district to coordinate with Jason on details. He and the superintendent are cc'd here.
Thank you for this opportunity to talk directly to the Buffalo community, in partnership with the school district, about the important work of improving low-performing schools and involving families in a collaborative process.
Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.
Dixon said that while Snyder's in town, she'll be meeting with him and taking him on a tour of one of Buffalo's low-performing schools.
- Mary Pasciak