Thursday, March 12, 2015

PS 20 and Arts and Letters (Fort Greene) Pics and Press Release on today's rallyPS 20

PS 20K and Arts and Letters
 
This is the first of a batch of incoming reports from some of the schools. Chalkbeat undercounts these protests by saying hundreds instead of thousands that would easily match and surpass the charter shills. Just look at the numbers from one building. But more on that issue later.

Hi, I thought you might like to see photos, speaker list, and the press release from this morning's action involving hundreds of families stretching around our schools today by two co-located schools Arts & Letters and PS 20 in Ft. Greene today among the 60+ schools that are participating in this action today: #protectourschools.

Please see below for link to professional photos you have permission to use to document today's Hands Around Our Schools event available with attribution to photographer Julie Hassett Sutton ( Julie at juliehassettsutton.com ): 



Speakers from PS 20 & Arts and Letters co-located public schools human chain & rally today:

PS 20 PTA President Vascilla Caldeira

Arts & Letters PTA co-President Ayanna Behin

Arts & Letters Teacher John Allgood

Letitia James, Public Advocate NYC

Joseph Yanis, legislative director Assembly Member Walter T Mosley

Ptahra Jeppe, chief of staff Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon

Jim Vogel, representative Senator Montgomery

Press Statement:

Contacts: Marnie Brady 202-492-4719 cell  // Vascilla Caldeira: 347-706-5621 cell

Hundreds of Parents and Teachers from Co-located Schools Unite in Citywide Action to Stop Cuomo’s Education Proposals:
Hands-Around Our Schools to Protect Public Education
#protectourschools

On the morning of Thursday, March 12th the communities of two co-located public schools, P.S. 20 and Arts & Letters (A&L) in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, along with Public Advocate of the City of New York Letitia James and representatives from offices of Assembly Member Walter T. Mosley, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and New York State SEnator Montgomery, created a human chain hundreds of people and families long around their school building with a united message to stop Gov. Cuomo’s education plans. Parents said the governor’s proposals will harm their children’s education, and cause unilateral damage to the public schools families have worked so hard to support.

Parents and teachers oppose what they call the governor’s “hostage tactics,” holding back $2.2 billion in court-mandated funds owed to NYS public schools while imposing detrimental policy changes into the April 1 budget. These changes include basing 50% of teacher evaluations on state test results, and the diversion of public education resources into private hands. Parents are taking action with social media, and emergency meetings with state representatives.

One A&L parent, Kimberly Bliss, who is took off work on March 11th to join other public school parents in Albany, explains: “Our governor is bullying our teachers and our schools with high stakes tests that have been proven to be ineffective. So we are giving a lesson to our children in how to stop a bully: we are joining hands to protect our beloved schools from Cuomo's dangerous "reforms". We stand united with our teachers to protect quality education based on inquiry, innovation, problem-solving, collaboration and community. We demand our state assembly members fully commit to voting no on Cuomo’s proposals.”

P.S. 20 PTA President Vascilla Caldeira states: “We stand hand in hand as schools because we are determined to be the change we want to see. Parents & teachers demand fiscal equity for the common core to be implemented successfully. We're standing for the kinds of authentic evaluations that will uplift the teachers who commit their skills and time to make our children life-ready. Testing makes our kids into clones instead of the creative people they are meant to be."

Opal Morrison, a P.S. 20 teacher, opposes Cuomo’s evaluation plans to replace much of the observations carried out by principals with outside evaluators: “Outside consultants coming in who have no idea who our students are is not helpful or fair. As a special education teacher, I spend my before school, lunch, & after school time supporting my students. Test scores & outside evaluators can’t capture my students’ struggles and achievements. It’s just disrespectful, not only to us teachers but to our children.”

Arts & Letters teacher John Allgood is also concerned about the increasing focus on state tests: “High stakes standardized tests necessarily narrow the curriculum so that children learn less. These tests do not give teachers any substantive information about what students know and need to learn.”

Parents throughout NYS are considering refusing state standardized tests scheduled for April. Last year, 3rd grade parents at Arts & Letters prevented the use of the state test results for teacher evaluation purposes through a mass opt-out. For more information about additional citywide actions, contact Maria Bautista at the Alliance for Quality Education:212-328-9217  ##

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