The pushback against the use of charter schools to undermine the public education system has begun, with action groups springing up in various parts of the city. On March 18, I attended two very contrasting rallies.
The first was held at PS 150 in Brownsville, a zoned school that is being closed down to make room for two charters. Some parents, teachers and community groups are pushing back. I put videos of the event on my blog, with an excellent takedown of BloomKlein by City Councilman Charles Barron who called for Tweed to be shut down, not schools.
We left the PS 150 rally and raced up to Harlem for the massive pro-charter school rally held by Eva Moskowitz' Harlem Success Schools. Bloomberg was the keynote speaker. Thousands were attracted by the massive hype and giveaways. It was clear how much corporate money is being pumped into the charter school movement, with Moskowitz earning $370,000 a year. I also posted a video of this event on my blog.
Teachers and parents at PS 241 in Harlem, another zoned school being closed, have pushed back and have been in touch with other neighborhood schools that will be next in line to fall.
There are 25 charter schools in Harlem, the largest number in the city.
The aim is to use the movement to attack and undermine the public schools, the very schools that Bloom- Klein have run for the past seven years and failed to improve, no matter what the hype. I mean if they are doing such a good job, why do they need to promote charter schools?
The UFT has joined others in filing a suit in the name of PS 241 and PS 150 charging the removal of zoned schools without consultation of parents is against the law. I'm all for lawsuits, but if we think that is all it will take, we are mistaken. If the DOE loses, they will figure out a way to hold a phony consultation with parents and do what they want anyway. I consider the suit no more than a temporary holding action.
It will take more, much more, to stop the BloomKlein/charter school/privatization roller coaster.
With all this activity going on, a few teacher oriented groups out of the UFT mainstream have been organizing on the issues of closing schools, the dislocated teachers that result (known as ATRs) and the use of high stakes testing to drive the engine of school closings and attacks on teachers. A conference was held at John Jay College on Saturday, March 28 that attracted 80 people, mostly teachers, but included students and parents who broke up into sessions on closing schools, ATRs and high stakes testing.
A parent from Moskowitz' Harlem Success Schools was there and said that all parents are required to attend all Harlem Success rallies or be sent to GITMO after being water-boarded.
Striking Back at Sharpton/- Klein/Bloomberg
AT LAST. Community groups in the black community are making a stand against mayoral control and the Al Sharpton/Joel Klein/Bloomberg unholy alliance, called the Equity Education Project, or EEP.
Stories are emerging about just how much money was funneled to Sharpton to buy him off. EEP is holding a convention at the Sheraton this week and there are protests planned.
Word is Sharpton is nervous about the protests and behind the scenes has been trying to make some deals. Once Sharpton is exposed within the black community, his little cushy deals and exploitations could come crashing down.
The protests are sponsored by emerging coalitions to fight mayoral control of schools and a third term for Bloomberg and are using the EEP event to make a statement at a luncheon (free) sponsored by EEP on April 3 at the Sheraton.
This will be small compared to the massive bussed in charter school advocates, but here is a selection of goodies from the leaflet they sent out. You can read it in full on my blog. EDUCATION DEMOCRACY ACTION ALERT!!!! ORDERLY CHALLENGE AGAINST MAYORAL CONTROL AND COLLABORATORS AT THE National Action Network—NYC Department Of Miseducation Conference— Luncheon Panel FRIDAY, APRIL 3, 2009 11 a.m., The Sheraton Hotel
This convention, sponsored by the mis-named 'Education Equality Project' and the National Action Network, is orchestrated by Klein/Bloomberg/- Sharpton.
The panel-luncheon spotlights Joel Klein, Mayor Bloomberg, Rev. Al Sharpton and others.
They intend to keep the myth going that NYC is an educational "Miracle" under Mayoral Control rather than the DISASTER it actually is.
A newly-constituted group called No To Mayoral Control Coalition (NTMCC) - which BNYEE (Black New Yorkers For Education Excellence) and the New York Coalition For Neighborhood School Control (NYCNSC) are part of - is planning to attend on Friday to hear the panel and eat lunch together.
Attempts are being made to include a parent and an educator on the panel because as planned right now, the
panel only contains those in support of the Bloomberg/Klein team.
It is an important opportunity to send a powerful message of disapproval about nyc's experiment with mayoral control — where among numerous outrages of the past 7 years there are such educational fatalities as a 52% high school dropout rate!!! See the Fact Sheet below for more details of the "miraculous" Bloomberg- Klein regime. The Mis-education Mayor In two terms NYC mayor, Bloomberg has made one of the most segregated and unequal public school systems, even worse. Through centralized Mayoral Control, Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Klein (Bloomberg- Klein) restructured the Public Schools into a mayor-chancellor-school principal educational dictatorship.
Bloomberg-Klein has……trapped most Black and Latina/o (B&L) students in a 21st century system of educational apartheid. You should know that in NYC:
2. …increased the suspension and criminalization of Black and Latina/o students in their schools; accelerating the genocidal school-to-prison pipeline.
3. …dismantled the district "School Boards" and disempowered the Community Education Councils (CECs) as well as the school leadership teams (SLTs).
4. …thoroughly disenfranchised parents and community residents from their human right to shape public school policy.
5. …systematically "disappeared" Black teachers & administrators (student role models) into "rubber rooms" or completely out of DoE.
6. …aggressively recruited and funded a large majority of new, untrained white college graduates to teach predominantly B&L students.
7. …silenced the UFT leadership and the CSEA leadership.
8. …squandered billions of taxpayer dollars in contracts, and millions in jobs to Wall Street cronies to maintain a racist system. Yet NYC DoE eliminated ALL Black and Latina/o public school vendors by requiring a minimum of $5 million in sales to do business.
9. …failed to comply with state and federal legislation requiring the (teaching and) learning of Black History by all students.
10. …refused to allocate the Campaign For Fiscal Equity (CFE) Funds equitably.
11. …deceived many parents by portraying NYC's generally mediocre group of charters as an honest path to educational equity. Since less than 1- in-25 students can even attend a charter, Bloomberg-Klein's disinformation has simply served to confuse some parents and weaken solidarity on the powerful demand: "Educational excellence for ALL."
Two Terms have been too many! He CAN'T have Three!!!
A must read: Juan Gonzalez in the Daily News, April 1 (not an April Fools Joke): Rev. Al Sharpton's $500G link to education reform
Norm blogs at http://ednotesonline. blogspot.com