Saturday, March 09, 2013


I went to today's monthly MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators) meeting and I was astonished to learn that the UFT Executive Board will be having their regular meeting on Monday evening instead of postponing it for a day it to come and support members in over 20 schools that are slated for closure at that night's Panel for Educational Policy meeting at Brooklyn Tech High School.

Surely whatever is on the UFT Exec Bd. agenda could wait a day.  Multiple schools are about to be shuttered or phased out with teachers, parents, students and communities impacted but according to my sources, the UFT will only be sending a contingent to the PEP. In addition, there are no official UFT plans for any kind of protest that I am aware of.

Yes, these PEP events are bogus as the mayor's majority on the panel never goes against Department of Education proposals however the powerful UFT needs to officially be there in force, as they have been in prior years, to show disgust with the process.

One caucus in the UFT will be there.  MORE will have a rally before the PEP meeting outside Brooklyn Tech and will be staying for the PEP.

We do not intend to let the DOE get away with closing our schools without us telling them how we feel.  I will try to speak at the PEP.

Below is MORE's statement.

 Join the rally, stay for the hearing to speak against school closings and co-locations!

From Chicago, to Philadelphia, to right here in New York City the fight against senseless school closings has reached a fever pitch. The communities are coming out by the masses and standing together as one against the corporate “reform” forces. Everyone now knows the truth, closing schools is not about helping our children nor is about better serving our communities; it’s about privatizing education and turning our children into profits. Closing schools is meant to make wealthy individuals wealthier while having no consideration for our children. We are calling on all educators, parents, students, and community members to join us and protest further harm to our students, our city, and our future. The puppet panels making these decisions have no regard for the city they supposedly serve. A mayor, who has no mandate, received less then 55% percent of the vote, appointed these members. He is serving an illegal third term after the the citizens of New York voted for term limits, with less than a year less in his term he has no right to close our schools. The time is now to halt this process, which has not resulted in better schools for our city. Many of the schools that will be closed will be replaced by charter schools where a CEO makes millions, while low paid, in many cases non-union teachers have tremendous turn-over rates. Children in charter schools are routinely exposed to less experienced teachers and there is no substantial evidence that there is any improvement in their education. Instead of filling the pockets of private individuals with public funds, let’s reinvest that money where it should be, with our children in our public schools.

The governor in speeches through-out the state has spoken of wrap-around services, we say why wait? Let’s offer this immediately and not a second later to all the schools that have been targeted for “reutilization”.  Let’s provide our children more after-school programs, more one to one services, and offer them a real chance to succeed by giving them the full resources of the state and city.There are excessed teachers and guidance counselors who are juggled from school to school each week, we demand that these highly trained and experienced professionals be placed in schools targeted for closing  immediately. This will allow class sizes to be reduced and students to receive more services. This is reform, this is helping our students, and this is truly serving the community.

The Mayor, DOE, and puppet panels must come out and say the truth, closing schools is racist policy. As our candidate for UFT treasurer Camille Eterno stated "there are never schools that have significant white populations that are targeted for closure but rather it is in places like Southeast Queens, a mostly African American neighborhood and in other predominantly African American or Latino areas where schools are closed." The government must have a full examination of this policy. In a city as diverse as New York the people deserve an answer as to why only schools in communities with African-Americans, Latinos, and immigrant communities are continuously closed. Until we have answers there must be a moratorium on school closings.

The DOE under chancellor Walcott must put aside it’s anti-teacher campaign and work with our union to empower our communities. Let’s work together to rebuild the schools by sitting down with parents, students, and the educators of targeted schools to find real solutions to real issues. The answer is not to bring in consultants that cost millions with ideas they read in some education journal, the answer is to use those funds to better serve our students by adding classes, staff, and services that directly affect pupils.

The School Leadership Teams (SLT) which are voted in and represent all constituents of the school; parents,staff, and students need to be given power in this process. They should be consulted in any decision that affects the school. Bring in new administrators that are chosen by a procedure that best serves the interests of the entire community, not a superintendent or network leader sitting in an office that has never visited the school. The current C-30 process is a fraud and is for show only. The parents and staff have no voice and they know it. This must change, the people in charge of a school have a real impact and the process for choosing them must seek to be as democratic as possible to ensure students are getting the right person for the job. If the C-30 and SLT have been turned into shams how can we expect the schools to succeed. This was all done on purpose so that the mayor and patronage lackeys could close down schools and bring in their millionaire friends to steal from our public funds. Let's change this now instead of closing schools, let's empower the members of our schools to make changes that best serve everyone.

MORE demands an immediate end to closing schools; we will not rest until this demand is met. We stand in solidarity with all community members everywhere that are fighting to preserve public education against forces of reform that seek to fatten their bank accounts NOT serve our community. Join us this Monday, join every school closing hearing, every PEP, to have your voice heard, and most importantly to protect our children's future

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just read my weekly chapter leader update. I don't see a word about Monday's PEP. Please Unity people show us where we are wrong.