Protest School Closings

March 10, 2013 — 5 Comments

On Monday March 11th the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP)
will meet at Brooklyn Technical High School at 6 PM to vote on the closure of 26 schools.
They will also vote to replace and co-locate many of the schools with charters schools.

Join members of the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE), students, parents, and community members

Rally and Action
5:00pm 

Protest Against Senseless School Closings and Rally In Support of our Fellow Teachers, Faculty, Students, Parents, and Communities

6:00pm 

PEP meeting

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 than 51% percent of the vote, appointed these members. He is serving an illegal third term after the citizens of New York voted for term limits, with less than a year left 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 shuttled 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.

Furthermore, we must oppose the “soft closing” of schools by strangling them slowly with colocations. This process inevitably hastens the decline of neighborhood comprehensive high schools as it decreases their enrollment and forces them to compete for scarce space and resources with new colocated institutions – often privately-run non-union charters.  This process is being repeated across the city at schools the Bloomberg administration is too politically timid to close, like Clinton and Lehman High Schools in the Bronx or P.S. 132 in Washington Heights.

The DOE under chancellor Walcott must put aside its 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 (3/11 and 3/20 at Brooklyn Technical High School, and 4/17 at Prospect Heights Educational Campus), to have your voice heard, and most importantly to protect our children’s future.

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5 responses to Protest School Closings

  1. 

    In case I can’t make it I’m going to contact the entire PEP here. I suggest everyone does this in addition to being present. Especially reach out to your borough rep. schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/members/default.htm

  2. 

    If you want to see the script they are following for school closings take a look at the Broad Foundation’s School Closure Guide:

    http://failingschools.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/school-closure-guide1.pdf

    For an investigative article about the Broad Foundation see:

    “Who is Eli Broad and why is he trying to destroy public education?”

    http://www.defendpubliceducation.net/

  3. 
    Adjlevin@aol.com March 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Very well written. Although the closing policy MAY not be intentionally racist, it gives that impression in part because parents in those neighborhoods are less empowered and the school evaluation formula does not take into account exogenous factors of poverty and social issues.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. El Pueblo Unido! A great week for Educational Justice in NYC - March 10, 2013

    […] Monday, March 10th: Rally with the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) at NYC Panel on Ed Policy Meeting 5:00pm Brooklyn Tech https://morecaucusnyc.org/2013/03/10/protest-school-closings/ […]

  2. Disdain: On Perry Anderson’s America ‹ The Official Web Site of Paul L. Street - October 3, 2013

    […] Movement of Rank and File Educators, “Protest School Closings” (March 10, 2013),https://morecaucusnyc.org/2013/03/10/protest-school-closings/; Real News Network. “Growing National Movement Against ‘High Stakes’ Public Schools […]

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