Hours before hundreds of parents protested being shut out of the planning for the latest overhaul of the city school system, Mayor Bloomberg appointed a critic of his education reforms as the city’s first parent czar.
Martine Guerrier, a Brooklyn mom and member of the Panel for Educational Policy, the successor to the Board of Education, will be paid $150,000 a year to manage parent-support functions as the CEO of family engagement for the Department of Education.
The differences between the pair were evident immediately after the mayor announced her appointment at City Hall, when she disagreed with his assessment that “most parents really are pleased” with the school system.
“I don’t think he said that at all,” Guerrier told reporters. “I would say most parents have concerns and issues that need to be addressed. There’s an opportunity to do things better.”
Her appointment was timed to offset a raucous rally at St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral in Manhattan last night that drew 1,500 teachers, parents and students who say they’ve been silenced by mayoral control of the schools.
“They don’t pay attention to us,” said Ana Cartegena (Make the Road by Walking member), a mother of seven students. “We have no power.”
The latest shakeup will give principals greater authority and allow them to pay for private help.