At another school in the Midwood section, after the chapter leader received one of those pro-charter/anti union ads she decided she'd had enough. She went to school and called a meeting where the teachers decided to do in information picket every Wednesday. When they heard about the June 4th date they decided to join in.
Other schools around the city began to pick up the refrain. Calls began to come in from schools wanting to join. (See below for list of schools I know about so far - email me if you are joining.)
The idea was that each school can shape their message the way they want. While some focus on budget cuts, others are looking at the teacher evaluation system or kindergarten testing.
NYCORE sponsored a picnic/sign making event in Prospect Park this past Saturday. About 40 people showed up - teachers, parents, students, young kids. We brought laptops. Some worked on a leaflet to hand out on the 4th. Others wrote up a petition and a press release. No matter how much frustration, taking action, even if small seemed to energize people. That schools are joining together instead of doing something in isolation seemed to multiply the energy and excitement.
The June 4th Toolkit
Out of all this has come a toolkit schools can use with a press release, petition, a June 4th leaflet that you can modify for your school conditions, etc. Some will be posted online or email me.
Giving Pink Slips to Tweedies, June 4 at 4:30
One activist came up with the idea of going to Tweed and handing out pink slips to the bloated bureaucratic bureaucrats as they come out. The plan is to gather at Tweed after school on June 4 at around 4:30 and hand out these pink slips. Some are talking about going back every week.
This is pretty ironic since the UFT is supposedly urging people to join the AFT "Pink hearts, not pink slips" campaign on June 4th. Think it a coincidence to try to pacify members to counteract a more militant grassroots movement?
Now don't get me wrong, these are not many schools, but the movement is starting at the school level and there is talk of doing it again on June 11th. No one shot deals like a certain 800 pound gorilla we all know. That gorilla has targeted June 16th for a mass rally (which we are all supporting) but has not done much organizing around yet. Like we don't know where it is but we expect to be out there in force on that date - hope they are holding it at Yankee Stadium.
So if it is too late to get on board for the 4th, think about the 11th.
The movement will continue. The GEM meeting on June 22 will focus on assisting schools in their organizing efforts to fight the budget cuts and layoffs. Check the GEM blog and back here for details.
A Message From Sam
This was sent out by Sam Coleman from PS 24 where the June 4th movement got started:
PINK SLIPS ARE COMING OUT THIS WEEK FOR TEACHERS! THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!
PS 24K, PS 15K, PS 30M, Prospect Heights International High School, PS 123M, PS 193K, PS 41M, PS 84K, The Brooklyn New School, Banana Kelly, PS 3K, PS 202K, Fredrick Douglass Academy 5, Benjamin Banneker High School, East Flatbush Community Research School, PS 307K