Interview with Sandra Feldman
QUESTION 16
INTERVIEWER:

On the telephone you had said that some people were initially rather frightened I think about the prospect of parents coming in. Can you talk a little bit about that and what you said to them?

SANDRA FELDMAN:

Well you know, the school system had not been really welcoming the parents. As I said it was a centrally run bureac- centrally run bureaucracy. And--

INTERVIEWER:

I'm sorry, could you just begin that again.

SANDRA FELDMAN:

The school system was not, ah, designed to be welcoming to parents. It was a centrally run bureaucracy where edicts were handed down from 110 Livingston Street. And there was very little relationship in the local school between teachers and parents. In fact teachers had very little to say about the school in general. Just as little to say about the school in general as parents had to say. So, ah, they were used to basically just being in their own classroom and doing there thing in their classroom. And they were, some of them, wary of the notion that there would be more involvement with parents in the school itself. And that is something that, by the way, also happens, you know in middle class communities where parents are very active, ah, sometimes teachers will say, "Well, I wish they would leave me alone." You know you would get that attitude. But on the other hand you had a lot of people who believed that if teachers and parents worked together that we could do something about the problems of our schools that we could help the kids. Because we were getting shortchanged. We didn't have what we needed for kids. We didn't have the supplies. We didn't have the support services. We didn't have the resources that we should have had in those schools. And we had seen schools that work. That were given a little bit more in the way of resources the more effect the schools. And we wanted those kinds of schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville.