Friday, July 30, 2004

Calling the NYC Board of Education

This is a bit of a test post as I just signed on to our exciting new blog and I'm eager to dive right in. Ever try to call the NYC Board of Ed?  Need a cpse meeting, annual review or an evaluation?  Well, a bit of advice.  Don't leave a message on someone's machine.  They never, ever, ever will call you back.  For those who need the NYC Bd of Ed. number, I've permanently etched it in my brain--it's 9173391600.  The other day, I was calling the Bd. to get an annual review for my son.  I must have called about 15 times before I got someone who could help me..an actual real person.  A bit of advice.  Once you dial that number, just press 0 for operator--then pray that the operator will answer.  If he does, you're golden and explain to him who you want.  Often you will get a non-working number and/or a message saying--I'm on vacation, I'm no longer in this position, I no longer work for the Bd of Ed.  Then, dial the main number again, hope and pray you are actually connected to the operator, tell him you DON'T want to be connected to a voicemail, that you want a real live person. Do those people exist at the Board of Ed?  FYI, did you know that staff at the board only works from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the entire summer?  I want a job like that.  Pleazzzze.  Okay, back to your quest.  Once you reach a real, live person after about an hour or so...be VERY VERY nice.  Compliment them on what a great job they are doing, say how nice they are to help you.  Catch the bee with honey.  Take their phone number and make them promise to call you back.  Tell them you can't sleep at night, you're having a nervous breakdown if you...don't get an evaluation, appointment for an annual review, whatever.  They will feel sorry for you.  Afterall, you are trying to do your job as a parent.  Is that so wrong?  So, now you've got a person who is seemingly trying to help you.  Once you put in your request, get their phone number, just hope and pray they will take pity on you and call you back. I guarantee this method will work.

2 comments:

amy fisch said...

Yes. This is the only way to make things happen. (The nervous breakdown usually works well too.) The people at the board of ed are overwhelmed, and the changes this year made things more confusing. I think I spent a month on the phone trying to get a CSE review for my son. The school based support team was supposed to handle it, but the psychologist in charge was nasty and unhelpful. However, once I got people on the phone at the board of ed things did work out. And follow-up. I thought everything was settled for next year, and turns out the CSE couldn't find the acceptance letter and it wasn't in the computer. I had to call 5 people in order to straighten things out. (luckily they all answered the phone)

Anonymous said...

Call their boss. Email everyone. Write letters. Call anyone who you ever spoke to about anything.
If that fails:
Call the public advocate. Call you local government. Call the main board of ed downtown. Write more letters. Eventually, you will get somewhere.
I don't think they are evil. I know they can't possibly accomplish everything that they are assigned to. I feel for them, but....

It's offensive to me on every level that the "squeeky wheel gets the grease". In most cases with CSE, I can imagine that the children who need advocacy the most are the least likely to have someone to help them out. I know I can't fix the system, but I will not let their department's profound inadequacy hurt my child.