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Department of Ed’s parent office gets a prettier new name

The city is renaming its office that oversees parent groups, partly in response to concern that Spanish-speaking parents are tripping over its title.

The Office of Family Engagement and Advocacy (OFEA) is now the Office of Family Information and Action (OFIA). Its role of overseeing communication with parents and parent groups is staying the same.

A spokesman for the DOE said one of the reasons for the change is that Spanish-speaking parents were confused by it. Parents were reading the acronym OFEA and getting caught on the last three letters which, strung together in Spanish, are “fea,” meaning ugly. Parent coordinators and district family advocates thought the name was distracting parents, the spokesman said.

A second reason for the new name is policy-driven. The office and its new director Ojeda Hall want to focus on giving information to parents rather than organizing them.

“We see Ojeda as an advocate and a voice and someone who has the ear of the chancellor, but in terms of organizing — that’s not necessarily something that happens at the central level,” the spokesman said. “We don’t have any illusions about the fact that parents engage and organize themselves.”