Saturday, May 17, 2008


Jamaica High School's big rally at the April 14 Panel for Educational Policy meeting continues to be a major UFT story. In the May 8, 2008 edition of the NY Teacher, the editors printed, virtually in its entirety, an angry letter I wrote complaining about their erroneous report in the previous issue that said Jamaica was closing. The letter is featured prominently, right below Randi Weingarten’s column. It is also the primary letter to the editor at The text is below. Members should call or email the UFT to express support for Jamaica High School.

We want to thank Randi for replying to our letter and NY Teacher editors Diedre McFadyen and Joe LoVerde for printing it.

Jamaica HS still breathing
May 8, 2008 4:43 PM
To the Editor:
Jamaica HS is not closing. The New York Teacher [April 24] erroneously printed that the Department of Education has decided “to close the school.” The DOE is downsizing Jamaica HS by opening a College Board School with funding from Bill Gates and Michael Dell within our building, but Jamaica is getting a new grade 9 class in the fall. We are open.
We showed up en masse to protest at the Panel for Education Policy meeting on April 14 primarily because our students will be treated as second-class citizens in their own building when the College Board School opens. We call it “academic apartheid.”
It is a sad day indeed when the Daily News writes a story about Jamaica HS that is more accurate than what is printed in our own union’s newspaper.

James Eterno, Jamaica HS

EDITOR’S NOTE: The New York Teacher regrets the error.


Anonymous said...

How about that Unity leaflet attacking ICE for not being at the Julia Richman rally on the same date James and about 80 people from Jamaica attended a PEP meeting in Queens?

ed notes online said...

Let's see now. The UFT makes "simple" mistake on Jamaica HS closing - one of the centers of the opposition and a place where many votes came from in the election for high school executive board in recent elections. Do you think they are not planning ahead to the next election where they will try to maintain the New Action phony opposition exec bd and keep ICE/TJC out again?

Call the article in the NY Teacher wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

Jamaica lives!

Anonymous said...


After reading the information provided by James Eterno on the destabilization
of Jamaica High, it all sounded too familiar.

The privatization formula is simple. First the public school is destabilized,
then they come in with a "solution" off the privatization and public school
replacement script.

I wish we had had enough staff and will in Chicago to track every instance of
this, since Chicago provided many of the templates. But I was glad to read
that you are documenting these realities in real time. Thanks.

Let's get together in Chicago during AFT and figure out how to maintain our
tracking of these things in the big cities.

Next on your agenda, if the pattern is followed:

Complete privatization via charter schools is the next wave they implemented
in Chicago -- with the "failing" high schools as the primary targets.

You're already in trouble in NYC because your local union (thanks, Leo) has
cocked up support for the "charter ideal" with those silly samples.

Starting this year, Chicago has been replacing its "failing" small schools
with "turnarounds" and charters. You're next. And with the help of your own
union leaders, you've already given a green light to the privatization via

George Schmidt
Editor, Substance

Anonymous said...


ed notes

That's right. They were not at Julia Richman. If they had a significant following, they could have had folks at both places.

Anonymous said...

That last comment is probably the dumbest one I have ever seen. Jamaica is rallying and the people from Jamaica are supposed to go to another school's rally.

Anonymous said...

Unity making dumb comments? C'mon.

Anonymous said...

Yes it happens but this one is even more stupidity than the average Unity dumbness.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of stupidity

It should say this one is filled with more stupidity than the average Unity dumb comment.