Kids performed their play criticizing school closings at Jamaica yesterday. Take out the word Jamaica from the script and replace it with John F Kennedy HS or Norman Thomas or Beach Channel or Tilden, or Lane or Canarsie or many others and you could perform this piece all over the city. In fact you could show it in many cities across the country.
Below is a facebook link to a pretty good quality recording that one of the students made. I hope it works so you can judge for yourself what all of the fuss was about. Also, here are links to the current Daily News and NY1 stories on the play.
In addition to the News and NY 1, there were a number of other media people in attendance at Jamaica yesterday including the NY Teacher and Anna Gustafson from the Jamaica Times. Councilman Leroy Comrie, a representative from Mark Weprin's office, Ken Cohen from NAACP and his wife, John Lawhead and Joan Seedorf from ICE, my wife, mother in law and daughter, Jackie Forestal from the Hillcrest Estates Civic Association, Bob Harris from Community Board 8 with his wife, James Vasquez from UFT, plenty of Jamaica teachers as well as retirees and hundreds of students and free speech lovers were all in the audience. I guess it is the closest we will get to an opening night on Broadway at Jamaica. There was a great buzz in the place.
I hope all of you can see the play. Maybe the students and their teacher from CUNY, Brian Pickett, will put on more performances in other venues.
On a related note, January 20 at 6:00 p.m. is this year's Joint Public Hearing for Jamaica. Come on out as we are easy to get to (F train to 169th Street; exit at back of station and walk up the hill two blocks on 168th Street.)
As I said in the last post, I went to Beach Channel's Joint Public Hearing the other night. In two years of attending these fiascos, I still haven't seen one person come and argue in favor of closing a school who does not work for DOE at the administrative level. Public be damned would appear to be the DOE attitude.