The first-ever New York City Education Forum brought together teens and parents from...
By Ayala Ben-Yehuda
Hundreds of Chinese parents and students joined northeast Queens education leaders Sunday for a series of discussions on getting their voices heard in borough schools.
The first-ever New York City Education Forum brought together teens and parents from Region 3, the newly formed northeast Queens instructional division, for a daylong conference at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing. The forum was organized by the Chinese American Parent-Student Council and businessman and philanthropist Thomas Chens Crystal Foundation.
One goal of the event, which drew participants from all five boroughs, was to empower Chinese-American parents by assisting them in voicing their concerns about their childrens education, said Yen Chou, president of CAPSC and a member of School Board 26.
Chou said Chinese parents often had trouble becoming actively involved in schools, either in speaking up about problems or taking a role in parent-teacher associations.
In Asian countries, the majority of responsibility is with the school, Chou said. Parents just cooperate.
To combat that tendency, CAPSC invited Region 3 Superintendent Judith Chin and a host of Queens politicians and school administrators to participate in bilingual panels Sunday, taking questions from parents and hearing input from about 130 college students.
The students put together a survey to find out how most of the young conference attendees went about selecting their university majors, and they presented ideas to parents on how students could take a more active role in choosing a course of study or career.
For the most part, the driving force for Asian students is their parents, said Richmond Hill native Gordon Chang, 19, a coordinator of the conference.
Chang said that most Asian parents encouraged their children to become doctors or lawyers but that students could benefit from exposure to many different careers.
The young participants at the conference suggested that college students should visit high school classrooms to discuss their majors. High-schoolers should also be able to use 15 hours of classroom time a year to explore internships, they said.
I wish I had a lot of these programs available to me when I was in high school, said Chang, who attends the University of Rochester.
For more information about the Chinese American Parent-Student Council, visit www.capsc.org.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2003 Community News Group
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