I went on strike in '68 but did not know anything about nuthin' then. A few years later I met many of the gang that crossed the line and worked with them politically. I understand their position. There's plenty of blame to go around on both the UFT and community control side and I'm not sure what I would do if I were back then with my current knowledge of the UFT - my instinct is that if I intended to organize teachers in the UFT crossing the line is death. If you disagree with the strike, work to provide people with a balanced view and you can't do that when you are looked at as a scab. But then again, if you wanted to work with the community, as many teachers did then, staying out was also death. Oy vey!
This event will present only one side of the issue, but I will be there to get a better read. I'm currently reading Kahlenberg and Podair's book on the strike, which is much more balanced than RK.
I might even write about '68 one day - but only from my fall-out shelter.
One of the fun ironies is that the old lefty guard of the former (and now bought out) New Action Caucus all crossed the lines in '68 and now traipse through the 52 Broadway with impunity. Thus, Randi's "liberal generosity." But we've always said she has no real ideology and it's all about what politics she sees is necessary to firm up Unity power - like having New Action on board with the paltry vote totals really has an impact.
No matter what she's done, that more than anything is what would make Shanker turn over in his grave. "Better dead than red" was one of Al's major themes. Some old-line Unity Caucus still seethe when they see the New Action crew around. But I do too - for other reasons.
1968 REVISITED: Ocean Hill-Brownsville
The Struggle for Quality Public Education: 1968-2008
Co-sponsors: New York Coalition of Radical Educators & Teachers Unite
In 1968, Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn, was the site of an experiment that gave local communities control of their public schools. The controversy sparked from this movement still resonates throughout the city. This panel discussion will explore the political moment that gave rise to the community control experiment and will attempt to compare it to today's context. How are NYC Communities responding to the current mayoral control of our public schools? How do these contrasting forms of school governance impact classroom teaching and learning?
Panelists include: Stanley Aronowitz, author of Education Under Siege: The Conservative, Liberal, and Radical Debate over Schooling; Sally Lee, Teachers Unite; Edwin Mayorga, New York Coalition of Radical Educators; Roberta Thomas, Independent Commission on Public Education (ICOPE) and Jitu Weusi, Teacher in Ocean Hill Brownsville.
The Brecht Forum
Thursday, April 10
Sliding scale: $6/$10/$15
Free for Brecht Forum Subscribers