Saturday, January 30, 2010

GEM meeting this week, Forum next


Come to the next GEM meeting!
Feb. 2nd, 4:30 pm

CUNY Grad. Center, 34th at 5th Ave., room 5414
Manhattan


Get involved in the Grassroots Education Movement and Help Defend Public Education!

Bloomberg’s Cycle of Closing Schools:
The past 8 years of Mayoral Control have made Bloomberg’s plan for public schools clear: Close them down. Bloomberg/Klein’s education reforms are centered on business model tactics that pour public money into private hands and destroy democratic control of schools. As public schools close, privately run charter schools open in their place with boards accountable to nothing but a bottom line.

We Say NO! To Bloomberg’s ATTACK on OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS!
THE FIGHT DOES NOT END HERE!!




FORUM:
The Impact of Charter Schools on Public Education
How to Become an Advocate for Your School

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

4:30 to 7:00 pm
Polytechnic Institute, 6 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn

Take the A, C, F, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to Borough Hall



Come to a Forum to find out first hand how charter schools are taking over public space and how teachers and parents are becoming advocates for their schools. Walk away with a helpful toolkit full of resources and information that will help you join the fight to defend public education.

Presentations by:
GEM—Grassroots Education Movement: Grassrootseducationmovement.blogspot.com
CAPE—Concerned Advocates for Public Education: Capeducation.blogspot.com


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Props to all for super Jan. 21st protest to Stop School Closings

SPECIAL SHOUT-OUTS TO:

The Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings
Norm Seigel's Legal Team
PS 15K
Jamaica HS
Maxwell HS (good to the last drop!)
Concerned Advocates for Public Education — CAPE
Grassroots Education Movement — GEM
Class Size Matters
Independent Community of Educators — ICE/UFT
Teachers for Just Contract — TJC/UFT
New York Collective of Radical Educators - NYCoRE
Coalition for Public Education — CPE
Center for Immigrant Families - CIF
Concerned Parents of East New York
TAGNY
keepSCRLalive
PS 123 — PTA Harlem
DC-37 Local 372 (NYC Board of Ed Employees)
NY State Senator Perkins
University Heights HS
iCOPE
Metropolitan Corporate Academy HS
Columbus HS
Global HS
Beach Channel HS
Facing History School
John Dewey HS
Patrick Sullivan, Manhattan PEP member
Richard Barr, VP, Political Action in School District 3
Marvin Holland, TWU 100 & Take Back Our Union


Join the emerging coalition by sending representativess to our GEM meetings or formally endorsing our coalition.

If your UFT School Chapter or Parents Association will not get involved in this critical struggle for the preservation of public education and/or endorse our campaign, you can create an active local Save Our School Committtee (with schoolworkers, parents, students, community) and endorse GEM's citywide work. Even if Bloomberg-Klein's PEP votes to close your school or to have a charter school invade, our work to overturn Bloomberg’s destructive actions & policies will not stop.



Notables Absent at Jan.21 Rally:
• King Bloomberg

• Duke Chancellor Klein & his Panel for Educational Policy Puppets (PEPp)

• NYC Dept. of Education (TWEED officials)

• UFT — Teachers Union Officialdom (controlled by Pres. Mulgrew, UNITY & New Action Caucuses)

• UFT Brooklyn Charter School Administrators (who have invaded 2 Brooklyn Public Schools)

• Green Dots Charter School Network (supported by the UFT & provide no teacher tenure rights)

• NYC Democratic Party Politicians (with noted exceptions)

• Educational Equality Project (Sharpton-Gingrich-Duncan Alliance for Mayoral Control & Charters)

• Bill Gates

• The Walton Foundation (Sam's Club & Walmart)

• Eli Broad


From Rafael Feliciano, President FMPR (Puerto Rico Teachers' Union):

“Para mi es esperanzador el trabajo que esta realizando el GEM. Tenemos muchas cosas para compartir; es la misma lucha”. For me the work that GEM has achieved is a hopeful sign. We [of Puerto Rico] have much to share. It is the same struggle."
From John Dewey HS Colleague:
It was an honor to be out there with you all, and, like you said here, the students kept the spirits flying!!!

My 2 colleagues and myself came from John Dewey HS in Bklyn, and we ended up over near the park, but when we walked passed the mayor's residence, it was a real show of unity and strength, very impressive (as it was near the Park, only I wish we had gotten to the main area. Cops told organizers only the 100people there could be there,but there were MANY 100' when we passed cross the street at 5:30 pm or so!!!

Now to build on the momentum. Maybe Unity [UFT party in control] can learn something from the beauty and brilliance of your organizing power and our unified resistance- they certianly don't lead in any viable way, and haven't since Randi W. joined her (OUR) wagon to the "Green Dot" star!!!---- that is 5 years or so ago. When will the 1000's of our colleagues wake up to being sold down the river???? Ms. W has gone Corporate very blatantly since. She can be a poster child for the charters at this point...some "family" she is to us!!!
From new member of our Emergency Coalition:
Very important to put this in context, historical and conjunctural. Bloomberg's current school closings and creation of a privatized, "parallel" set of schools takes place in the social context of massive drive to corporatize the public domain. Health care, the right to pollute the atmosphere, and now candidates for public office! See, for example, "Privatizing Everything ". But the historical background is important, too.

We "oldtimers" remember the opening salvos of the attacks on public education in the late 80s and 90s.

Waves of cutbacks, privatizing services, imposition of standardized testing, attacks on due process, etc. . . . leading in the last several years to the generalization of the "business model" and charters. This means that the movement against school closings has the potential for tremendous breadth in the domain of educational reform, both here in NYC and around the country, and, eventually a link-up with other opponents of the neoliberal project. It also means that we need to organize for the long-haul, build lasting and activist organizations of educators (including us adjuncts), parents andcommunities, and young people.
From a GEM member:
Thursday at Bloomberg's was the beginning of a movement. Whether or not you think the PEP is a rubber stamp and that we should be preparing for the loss, which is what I have been hearing from many in the organizing groups. I would like to raise the more important issue that we ought to focus not so much on the outcome of the PEP but the fact that we are in the beginning stages of a movement--a movement to protect our democratic rights and the right to a public school system that provides a safe environment where students,their families are valued respected and receive as much education as their minds can absorb.

What I am saying is even if all 22 schools were voted to remain open we all know we still have work to do. Remember 90 schools have already been closed under this administration and there are deep concerns about the policies that are in place inside these public schools.
One example here:
http://www.nyclu.org/news/nyclu-aclu-file-class-action-lawsuit-against-nypd-over-excessive-force-wrongful-arrests-new-yor.

So regardless of the outcome of Tuesday PEP we approach the event with this mindset.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rally to STOP School Closures at Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Home 1/21/10

The Mayor's block on East 79th Street was packed on Thursday evening with New York City students, parents and teachers who are furious over Mayor Bloomberg's overt attempt to undermine public education. Closing 22 more schools and giving public school space to charter schools are two of the many destructive tactics being utilized by the Mayor.

Students, parents and teachers understand what the Mayor does not.

Norman Siegel and students from Beach Channel and Jamaica High School spoke with protesters after they marched in front of Mayor Bloomberg's home.

The march was a powerful protest against Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education's efforts to pull the rug out from under and destroy public education.

Mayor Bloomberg's attempt to hand over NYC children to private interests must be stopped!

Students from the 22 schools understand that Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein are the ones who've failed.








Protest at Bloomberg Home

Protest at Bloomberg Home, Jan. 21, 2010. The finale at the gathering area on Central Park and 79th St. Led by GEM's Angel Gonzalez, student speakers Rachel Ali and Chris Petrillo, CAPE/PS 15'a Lydia Bellahcene an Julie Cavanagh,Jamaica HS James Eterno, Norman Siegel.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0F16OS7wIY




Please feel free to use this video from the: "Teachers Protest School Closing and Charter School Invasions" event.

http://vimeo.com/8931307

In Solidarity
ArtAndStruggle.Com
artist & activist collective

Friday, January 22, 2010

UFT Officialdom Dons Empty Militant Rhetoric


Mulgrew+Weingarten=UNITY UFT SELL-OUTS
Cut from the same corporate management -collaborationist cloth! Don't be fooled!


The UFT officialdom, in their quest to appear militant, has been adopting GEM's and opposition caucus' language & behavior. RECENTLY there have been some sightings of the UFT :
  • displaying GEM's Don't Privatize banner twice in propaganda pieces.
  • adopting GEM's colors (black & yellow) in their UFT buttons. What happened to the UFT sky-blue & white colors?
  • grandstanding & talking our grassroots' militant rhetoric at the hearings, DA. (But is empty rhetoric without a militant strategy.)
  • mobilizing citywide to the Jan. 21 PEP.

But
there is no evidence of one single UFT educational and analytical flier at any of the recent local school "closings" protests or hearings!

Today, the UFT are doing last minute advertizing for the PEP Jan. 26 meeting (Congrats, but will the UFT sign up and mobilize every school?) GEM & Coalition groups have been mobilizing since December '09. With all our dues money, shouldn't take this long to follow their GEM members "good foot" steps.


We need to see through the UFT Officialdom's attempts at cooptation and manipulations. GEM is emerging as a leading advocate educational and teacher justice. But lately the some , UFT officers have been also sighted as going out of their way to sabotage our good work and members. In some cases, district reps or UFT-UNITY chapter leaders have harassed and have attempted to scare away teachers, students and parents away from GEM and its good work. Some UFT-UNITY officials have gone around to either harass and even threaten to take away their bribes, perks (e.g. getting paid UFT convention trips, wine & cheese parties or patronage UFT jobs).


NOW, having a big rally (see UFT ad below) doesn't necessarily equal militancy? We've got to analyze the content of their work. What are the militant messages and organizing efforts that are being called for by the UFT? The right wing(e.g. the recent Tea Party rallies) and the Democratic Party liberals mobilize but those actions doesn't necessarily equal an effective strategy. Will the UFT do more organizing to reverse the school closing decisions that the puppet PEP Bloom-Kleiners will make????? If the UFT officialdom (Unity & New Action Caucuses) would embrace and adopt GEM's winning strategy, then the UFT would be really talkin' and walkin' the militant walk.


Put your money where your mouth is, UFT. Imagine what a powerhouse: the UFT Officials united with the militancy of a militant democratic rank & file! GEM promotes a strategy of building the organization of its members with a bottom-up democratic decision making. GEM seeks to mobilize in a broadly and massively its members in unity with parents, student and community in order to reverse the decades of deterioration of education and the conditions of educators.
UFT continues to utilize strategies that historically have failed education and instead have benefitted the corporate powers' neoliberal agendas and the officialdom's pockets. Strategies that have focussed primarily on either:
  • legal-judicial wrangling
  • endorsing & financing politicians
  • legislative reforms
  • being at the table or in-bed with management or corporate heads
have brought us to the sorry state we are in. Millions of members dollars wasted to bring us to this sorry state we are in. It took about a decade to get a CFE ruling that produced more dollars for the DOE privatization drive. The recently announced "Small Class Size Lawsuit" will again fail and drag on for years without a member-based strategy.


Our UFT members and our school community constituents can wait. GEM will continue to educate, organize, and mobilize our members. Join us.
Opinion of Angel Gonzalez, GEM
UFT ad for Jan. 21 Protest:

UFT RALLY TO PREVENT DOE'S PROPOSED SCHOOL CLOSINGS!

Protest at the Panel for Education Policy (PEP) - Join in solidarity to protest the Department of Education's proposed school closings.

Closing schools is not the answer!!


WHO: United Federation of Teachers

WHEN: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 @ 4:00 PM

WHERE: Brooklyn Tech High School - 29 Fort Greene Place - Brooklyn, NY. (Rally to be held on South Elliott Place between Lafayette &DeKalb.)

DIRECTIONS via MTA: Bus: B25, B26, B52 to Fort Greene Place & Fulton Street; B38 to Fort Greene Place & DeKalb Avenue. Subway: B, M, Q, R to DeKalb Avenue; C to Lafayette Avenue; G to Fulton Street; 2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins Street.

For an event flyer click here and for info on proposed school closings go here.

BRING YOUR UNION BANNERS!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

THE SUN WAS ON OVERTIME TONITE!

Thanks to Ellen D. for the photos, which we're trying to re-mount on this post. Stay tuned.

Also see Maura Walz' piece at Gotham Schools.

Angel writes:
Thanks all for supporting in every way that you did to make this a historic & monumental day against King Bloomberg's threats to close 21 more of our schools in his quest to privatize. You made sun radiate on overtime this evening on behalf of our children. We have launched an unstoppable united movement of students, parents, teachers, labor and community and are beginning to unleash the mighty power of our awakening giant, our working class communities. The corporate billionaire thugs, represented by Bloomberg and Klein, will be stopped and pro-public education forces will prevail.

Let's find ways to build on our strengths and overcome the many weakness. It ain't gonna be easy but we've got no other alternative but to fight on. We have to figure out creative ways to build school-based
democratic organizations that will be able to take on the corporate-government DOE that relentlessly assaults our public education.

Please send us your reflective comments, perspectives and analyses regarding today's event,
the organizing efforts, where we are at and on what needs to be done. We can post those views on our websites and thus encourage the necessary dialogue, questioning and debate.

Keep on educating, mobilizing and organizing. Let's work to double, triple, . . . today's' 4 to 500 . . . next time !

Angel Gonzalez of the emerging Coalition TO STOP THE CLOSINGS & GEM

As I would tell my six grade students, you are:
"the bomb-diggety-cool-fresh-hip-hot-smokin-groovy-radical-dope-DYNOMITE!"
(say that 10 times real fast)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Detroit Teachers Union members take over union meeting in recall fight!


The following is a summary (with video) of the Detroit teachers union membership meeting Thursday, January 14th, 2010.

Background Note: The DFT Executive Board had voted the night before to dismiss the 1300 member petition signatures calling for Johnson's recall, though the recall process in our union constitution gives them NO authority on this matter, and says that only 1000 signatures are needed. The recall is based on Johnson's numerous violations of his obligations of office, stemming from his efforts to impose the Arne Duncan anti-public education "reforms" on Detroit Public Schools and its teachers.

Johnson began the membership meeting seen in these videos by ruling all 3 of our motions out of order. The three motions were as follows: (1) to set the date of Johnson's hearing and recall vote for the February 11th membership meeting, (2) to relieve Johnson or all duties and obligations as President until that recall vote; (3) for the DFT to support the lawsuit against the TIP $250 forced "loan" from Detroit teachers' next 40 paychecks.

After Johnsons ruled us out of order, we appealed that decision to the body, as is our right under Robert's Rules of Order and our union By-laws. The vast majority of the meeting voted with us and against Johnson.
Johnson then ignored that vote, and tried to get his agenda adopted. But the overwhelming majority voted DOWN his agenda.

Johnson then announced that his agenda had passed, and the crowd erupted in an angry roar and began chanting for his removal. See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFGfz8lXzls
Johnson then left the room, and we voted to adopt the two motions regarding his removal from office (motions #1 and # 2 above). Johnson then came back into the room with members of the Detroit Police Gang Squad.

Johnson then tried to unilaterally adjourn the meeting without a motion or vote to do so, in violation of our by-laws and Robert's rules. See video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPMSRv7QoJM
DFT members continued the meeting. We voted for the union to join the lawsuit against the TIP $250. (motion #3 above)

We urge all members to attend the February 11th DFT General Membership Meeting, at which time we will hold the hearing and take the vote on Johnson's recall.

If you would like to file a wage complaint against the TIP, email marquette6@hotmail.com

Contact:
313.645.9340
313.645.9360

The Committee to Defend Public Education meets each Saturday at 4:00 pm at Gracious Savior Lutheran Church; 19484 James Couzens, Detroit.


Angel Gonzalez Comments:


Let's stand in solidarity with our Detroit Federation of Teachers where they fight deductions ($10K) of teachers' wages as loans their local city corporate-government.

We've got to build the fight to get a bail out of all our educational services and the living/work conditions of school & all workers.

Build our NYC UFT grassroots rank & file movement to replace these Mulgrew-Weingarten corporate neo-liberal privatization collaborators. We can't let the UFT bosses continue to negotiate & hack away at our rights, benefits, wages and educational services (e.g. tying test scores to teacher evaluations, trashing tenure, charter support,lowered pensions & benefits, ATR & seniority rights trashing, rubber room atrocities, weak & negated grievance rights, larger class sizes, budget cuts . . . the litany of sell-out is endless).

The UFT bosses will never take up an EFFECTIVE militant FIGHTBACK STRATEGY THAT BUILDS MEMBER-BASED BOTTOM-UP ORGANIZING & MOBILIZING. It is up to us, the membership to do that.

Let's build our democratic-organizational strength to eventually give the Mulgrew-Unity bosses the boot here and take over the UFT! We need to start building our own union leadership from among our membership ranks.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

GEM at Smith HS urges citywide protests against closure


Jan. 11, 2010 — Alfred E. Smith Vocational CTE High School, Bronx

Click here for video.

Seung Ok & Angel Gonzalez of GEM send solidarity and loud message to Smith HS and other NYC schools targetted for closing: Protest citywide and build a grassroot organizations to fight school closings and the drive to privatize public schools with charters!

The UFT officialdom has not been educating our members and communities about this ongoing privatization with charter schools and its union-busting of all school workers. Instead the UFT has supported charter schools and already has two charters of their own inside public school buildings. Also, the UFT supports Green Dot Charters that deny tenure rights! It will be up to the UFT members, united with our school communities, to build the necessary grassroots fightback organization.

Instead of promoting GEM's and the Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings' important community work, UFT officials have sought to undermine our work by telling teachers and parents not unite with GEM. The UFT officials threaten to take away many perks (e.g. paying for UFTconvention expenses), jobs and other "carrots" to keep members from defecting from their complicity Mayor Bloomberg-Obama-Bush privatization agenda, the "Race to the S-TOP Public Education!"

Protest at Bloomberg's House on Jan. 21 and on Jan. 26th at Chancellor Klein's PEP (Puppets of Education Panel) Meeting where 22 school closings will be voted on.


Commentary by Angel Gonzalez.

Metropolitan Corporate Academy HS closure hearing, Jan. 14, 2010

Metropolitan Corporate Academy students, parents, educators, and alumni came together in powerful unity on Thursday, January 14, 2010, speaking passionately and courageously about their school.


While the building doesn't present itself as much from the outside, we instantly felt the sense of community and family upon entering the door.Testimonies focused on students and staff's love for their school, despite its many challenges. The school's debate team proudly held their first place trophies in front of John White and presented him with a large stack of student signed petitions. The video not only captures the passion and spirit of the Metropolitan Corporate Academy, but it clearly demonstrates how far off course the New York City Department of Education has gone.





Become a part of the fight for our students and our public schools!

CITY-WIDE Rally to STOP School Closures

First Rally
Mayor Bloomberg's Home
When: January 21, 2010 from 4:00-6:30pm!
Where: 17 East 79th Street
New York, NY

Second Rally
Panel for Educational Policy vote on all school closures
When: January 26, 2010 from 4:30pm
Where: Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 FT GREENE PLACE
BROOKLYN, NY 11217

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beach Channel & Jamaica Students Support Smith Against Closure

Jan. 11, 2009 - Alfred E. Smith High School, Bronx

A standing room only crowd filled the AE Smith auditorium to oppose Bloomberg's Department of Education's (DOE) plan to close Smith down. Students, parents, teachers, politicians & community activists, including business leaders, defended Smith's track record in providing essential vocational and technical career training to Bronx and students across the city.


Queens students (Rachel from Jamaica High and Chris from Beach Channel High) reached out to students in an effort to build a citywide student organization against the closures.
Chris was on point as he denounced the DOE's incompetency and ignorance about the negative impact of its "closure" decisions on students' education and lives.


Rachel and Chris hope to organize all concerned students across the New York City. They are attending DOE Closing Hearings and use Facebook and other media tools to do their outreach.


Teachers and parents can help by connecting students from their schools with Rachel & Chris.

Click title for video of their solidarity message at Smith High.
(Pictures of the Smith HS protest on Jan. 8 are included.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

PAREMOS: El Cierre de Las Escuelas Públicas
Por Bloomberg y La Invasión Por Escuelas “Charter”
PROTESTA
Jueves 21 de enero
4 – 6:30 PM
Calle 79 y la 5ta Avenida
Nos reuniremos en la cuadra de
la residencia del Alcalde Bloomberg

Únase a esta protesta para apoyar a los estudiantes, padres, y maestr@s de las 22 escuelas afectadas por la propuesta del cierre de escuelas y su reemplazo por escuelas „charters/privadas.‟
  • Llevamos la protesta a la puerta de Bloomberg porque él es el responsable del cierre injusto de nuestras escuelas.
  • La administración municipal y el alcalde Bloomberg le han fallado a nuestras escuelas públicas. El progreso de las escuelas de las escuelas se ha logrado a pesar de décadas del deterioro de la infraestructura, recortes al presupuesto, salones demasiado llenos, sobrepoblación de las escuelas y un cuerpo estudiantil con una gran parte de estudiantes que tienen mayores necesidades. ¡La educación pública equitativa y de buena calidad es un derecho y no un privilegio!
  • El cierre de las escuelas públicas y su reemplazo con escuelas “charter/privadas” que, excluyen a los estudiantes con mayores necesidades, no es una respuesta adecuada. Nuestras escuelas públicas requieren mas apoyo y recursos.
¡Aumentemos la presión!
* Comuníquese el alcalde, el Canciller Klein, los legisladores estatales y los miembros de la Junta de Política Educativa (Panel for Educational Policy - PEP). Para obtener la información de contacto: www.nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com.
*Establezca un comité en su escuela para detener los cierres de escuelas públicas e intégrese a nuestra coalición.
* Martes el 26 de enero. Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Ft. Greene Place, Brooklyn.
Asista la reunión de la PEP donde se tomará la decisión acerca del cierre de las escuelas.
4 pm – manifestación de protesta. 5:00 pm – inscríbese para dar testimonio.


Organizadores: LA COALICION DE EMERGENCIA PARA DETENER EL CIERRE DE ESCUELAS incluyendo padres de familia, maestr@s y estudiantes de PS15K, Jamaica HS, William H. Maxwell CTE HS, Concerned Advocates for Public Education – CAPE, Grassroots Education Movement – GEM

Patrocinadores: Class Size Matters, Independent Community of Educators – ICE/UFT, Teachers for Just Contract – TJC/UFT, New York Collective of Radical Educators, Coalition for Public Education, Center for Immigrant Families, Concerned Parents of East New York, Teachers 4 Justice Now, Manhattan Local of the Green Party (NYC), keepSCRLalive, PS123-PTA Harlem,…

STOP BLOOMBERG'S SCHOOL CLOSURES & CHARTER SCHOOL INVASIONS
CITYWIDE PROTEST
Jan. 21 - Thurs
4 – 6:30 PM
Gather on the Mayor’s Block!
79th St. & 5th Av.

Join us in support of the students, parents, teachers and communities of over 22 schools affected by the proposed closings and charter takeovers.
  • We are picketing Bloomberg’s residence because he is in charge of these wrongful closings. We need to bring our opposition to his doorstep.
  • The City and Mayor Bloomberg have failed our public schools. School progress has been made despite decades of deteriorating conditions, inadequate funding, budget cuts, large class sizes, overcrowding and the great number of high needs students that our schools serve. Democratic public education is a right, not a privilege.
  • School closings and their replacement with boutique or charter schools (that exclude our neediest children) are not the answer. Our public schools need more supports and greater resources.
Step up the pressure!
* Contact the Mayor, Chancellor Klein, State legislators, City Council members and members of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP). For contact info: nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com.
* Create a “Stop the School Closings Committee” at your school and network with our coalition.
* Jan. 26, Tues. Brooklyn Tech HS - 29 Ft. Greene Pl. Attend this PEP meeting where the vote to close our schools will be made. Gather at 4PM for a protest. 5PM - SIGN UP TO SPEAK!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

School Closure Forums at Columbus High School (1/7/10) and at the Choir Academy of Harlem (1/8/10)

The Columbus community walked around their school building three times in a demonstration of school pride before they confronted the New York City Department of Education in their school's auditorium. Members from the Columbus community, including students, parents and teachers, presented data from the DoE's own web site that not only disputed claims that they are a failure, but proved that Columbus is improving dramatically and that they are a success.



Students were eager to share their thoughts and feelings about the New York City Department of Education's proposed closure of Columbus High School.




New York City Department of Education representatives, including Chancellor Klein and Deputy Chancellor John White, have been scolded by the public during recent closure forums and PEP meetings for paying more attention to their blackberries than to the public. This has contributed to the public's assertion that these forums are only a formality for the DoE and that a city wide rally is required at Mayor Bloomberg's residence on January 21st.


Choir Academy of Harlem students, parents, teachers, alumni and friends demonstrated their school pride, while they protested their closure on Friday, January 8th. The community then gathered in the school's auditorium to comment on the New York City Department of Education's plan to shut them down.



New York City Department of Education's Deputy Chancellor, John White, had to stop the public forum at the Choir Academy of Harlem because the vocally passionate and furious community shouted him down. At one point Mr. White stated that the meeting would be stopped unless it could "move forward in a functional manner." What Mr. White did not say was that he was only interested in the DoE's agenda being functional.


The New York City Department of Education has subjected thousands of young students throughout New York City to high levels of stress and insecurity about their future.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fight for the Right to Protest on the Mayor’s Block


Tuesday, January 12, 2010 NYC
Parents, Students, and Teachers Fight for the Right to Protest on the Mayor’s Block

Today, attorneys Norman Siegel and Herbert Teiteleaum filed papers in United States District Court, Southern District, on behalf of a parent, two students and a teacher who are members of The Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings, to hold a protest on the Mayor’s block on the Upper East Side on January 21st.
The Emergency Coalition intends to hold a city-wide protest on the Mayor’s block, on January 21, 2010 from 4:00-6:30. Parents, students, and teachers view this as their First Amendment right and vital to have their voices heard regarding the unfair and destructive educational policies being proposed by the NYC Department of Education.
“The Bloomberg Administration is undermining our schools, without any compassion or understanding of how these policies will affect our children. It’s time for parents to stand up and say no! We refuse to take it anymore. Our schools are the lifeblood of our communities, and we will take our voices and our struggle to the Mayor’s block in the hope that there, we will finally be heard,” Lydia Bellahcene, Parent, PS 15, The Patrick F. Daly School, Red Hook, Brooklyn.
“ My school, as well as many of the others that the city wants to close, are doing as well as we can given the continued budget cuts, overcrowding, and the other challenges we face. What we need is more support, smaller classes, and more programs to engage us, not to be closed down and replaced by small schools or charter schools which will make us travel many miles away or exclude us from attending,” Khalilah Dickerson, student, Maxwell High School.

"I feel it's important to rally on the mayor's block, because he needs to hear how students and the community really feels about school closures. Our school has been making progress, so it is wrong to close a school that is improving. The mayor seems to be making decisions without listening to us, the ones he claims to be helping. This is why we want to march on the Mayor’s block - so he can hear our voices loud and clear, " Richard McDonald, student, Maxwell High School.
“The Bloomberg Administration’s current policy of school closings and charter school invasions highlight a clear intent to dismantle public education. Stakeholders from the affected school communities, insist we have the right to protest on the Mayor’s block to prevent our communities from being divided and disenfranchised.” Julie Cavanagh, Teacher PS 15K, Representative from CAPE, Concerned Advocates for Public Education, a parent and teacher coalition at PS 15K.
“The average New Yorker believes that the Mayor has been enacting reforms that better the education of the 1.1 million students in our public school system. By protesting, we want to expose the fact that school closures and the threat of closure have done immense harm to these students' education. Closures have caused the flight of quality teachers from high needs areas, stripped curriculums of all but mindless drilling for high stakes testing, brought corruption in the form of credit recovery and social promotion, and set the way for a two tiered system under charter school disparity.” Seung Ok, Teacher Maxwell High School.
James Eterno, chapter leader at Jamaica HS says: "This administration is closing schools down like they are franchises whose revenue is declining. What they don't realize is that Jamaica HS, like many of these other schools, is an integral part of its community, has had a long tradition of success before Klein was made chancellor, and despite his negative policies, is improving rapidly -- with a 15% increase in graduation rate in recent years. We will advocate for its survival even if we have to take the message to the Mayor's front door."
The Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings is comprised of dedicated parents, students, and teachers who seek to protect and support NYC public schools from the detrimental policies of the Bloomberg Administration and are demanding that the Department of Education halt school closures and the charter school invasions that are undermining the health of our public education system.

No matter what the court decides, the Coalition intends to go ahead with their plan to protest in Bloomberg’s neighborhood on January 21st, whether on the Mayor’s block or in a nearby location. Protesters will be meeting at 4:00 at 5th Avenue and 79th street on the park side.

Media Contacts:
Lydia Bellahcene: lillytigre@yahoo.com, 347-463-9809, PTA PS 15- 718-330-9280

Khalilah Dickerson- 347-264-4527/lilahmissco@hotmail.com
Richard McDonald- 347-445-3927/mcdonald_richie@yahoo.com
Julie Cavanagh: juliereed15@hotmail.com, 917-836-6465
Seung Ok: possitivelypessimist@gmail.com, 646-244-4468
James Eterno: jeterno@nyc.rr.com , 718-268-0788

Norman Siegel: 347-907-0867

Herberet Teiteleaum: 518-441-9412

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Protest Bloomberg's School Closings & Charter School Invasions


CITYWIDE PROTEST

Jan. 21 - Thurs

4 – 6:30 PM

Gather on the Mayor’s Block!

79th St. & 5th Av.


Join us in support of the students, parents, teachers and communities of over 22 schools affected by the proposed closings and charter takeovers.

o We are picketing Bloomberg’s residence because he is in charge of these wrongful closings. We need to bring our opposition to his doorstep.

o The City and Mayor Bloomberg have failed our public schools. School progress has been made despite decades of deteriorating conditions, inadequate funding, budget cuts, large class sizes, overcrowding and the great number of high needs students that our schools serve. Democratic public education is a right, not a privilege.

o School closings and their replacement with boutique or charter schools (that exclude our neediest children) are not the answer. Our public schools need more supports and greater resources.

Step up the pressure!

* Contact the Mayor, Chancellor Klein, State legislators, City Council members and members of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP). For contact info: nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com.

* Create a “Stop the School Closings Committee” at your school and network with our coalition.

* Jan. 26, Tues. Brooklyn Tech HS - 29 Ft. Greene Pl. Attend this PEP meeting where the vote to close our schools will be made. Gather at 4:30 PM for a protest. 5PM - SIGN UP TO SPEAK!

Sponsors: The Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings including parents, teachers and students at PS15K, Jamaica HS, William H. Maxwell CTE HS, Concerned Advocates for Public Education – CAPE, Grassroots Education Movement – GEM



Endorsers: Class Size Matters, Independent Community of Educators – ICE/UFT, Teachers for Just Contract – TJC/UFT, New York Collective of Radical Educators, Coalition for Public Education, Center for Immigrant Families, Concerned Parents of East New York, Teachers 4 Justice Now, Manhattan Local of the Green Party (NYC), keepSCRLalive, PS123-PTA Harlem, …

Contact INFO:

http://capeducation.blogspot.com/ grassrootseducationmovement.blogspot.com gemnyc@gmail.com 718-601-4901