Are you looking to have a voice in deciding policy issues for your child’s education? Have you been concerned about what mayoral control of the schools has done to parent participation and what it will be like under future mayors?

If so, join the conversation and brainstorming at the first Parents’ Charrette on Dec. 8 at PS/IS 276 in Battery Park City, organized by a new advocacy group called .

The event will focus on the question: What might REAL “parent engagement” look like in NYC’s public schools?

Organizers Liz Rosenberg, Kemala Karmen and Dionne Grayman -- all mothers from Brooklyn -- are inviting parents from every district to join them in an all day forum called a “charrette”-- defined as an “intensive creative brainstorming session in which a mixed group of stakeholders generate workable ideas and collaborate on an action plan.”

“The goal is to find a way to insert parent voices back into the process,” said Karmen. “Changing the ‘us versus them’ policy that kind of characterizes New York City school politics.”

Panelists will include Lisa Donlan, president of the community education council in District 1 who will speak about mayoral control of the schools  under Mayor Bloomberg; Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, who will talk about where there is wiggle room for more parent representation in the New York State law, and Texas Christian University Professor Fran Huckabee who will talk about the role parents have played in other cities where there is mayoral control.

The organizers hope for at least two parents from each district. Participants will meet in small working groups to "sketch

scenarios about what true parent engagement could look like under the next mayor," organizers said.

Issues that particularly concern parents, Karmen said, include:

  • Testing – the quantity and high-stakes nature of tests
  • Budget – how the education budget is allocated.
  • Class size

NYCpublic sees an opportunity now, as candidates gear up for the 2013 election, to have a say in what true parent engagement could look like under a new mayor.

“As of now we have no voice except by going to a demonstration,” said Karmen. “This is public school, in a democratic system there should be a place for us.”

Several politicians who have expressed interest in becoming the city’s next mayor have promised to attend or to send representatives, including John Liu, Bill de Blasio, Christine Quinn and Scott Stringer.

A small lunch will be provided and there may be childcare at the event which runs from 9:30 am to 3 pm. RSVP at Attendance is limited to two representatives per district but some additional seats are available.

(updated 11/16 to reflect that the working groups will discuss parent engagement under the next mayor. They will not be discussing testing, class size and budget.)