Friday, November 26, 2010

NYC Parent Activist Lisa Donlan Featured on NY TImes Article on Cathie Black

November 26, 2010

Wow! Is the NY Times beginning to get it or what? When the first sentence of an article (Discontent With Mayor at Heart of School Uproar) about the resistance to the Cathie Black nomination in today's paper by Elissa Gutman quotes Lisa Donlan, you know BloomBlackKlein are wearing out their welcome as arbiters of the NYC school system.

Now for those of you who don't know Lisa, she has been one of the leading voices out there battling Mayoral control, the DOE and charter school invasions on the Lower East Side, where she is president of Community Education Council (CEC) 1. The CEC's are the sort of powerless replacements for the 32 old district community school boards which served students from grades k-8. There are separate councils for high schools and special ed.

Lisa Donlan leading the Real Reformers at the Nov. PEP
Many of the most people involved at these councils have met and become active through the NYCEducationNews listserve started by Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters. By the way, if you had an idiot relative try to tell you at Thanksgiving dinner that class size is only about teacher unions trying to create jobs and has nothing to do with learning, send them to the research on Leonie's site.

It was this group of activists that held the press conference last Monday at State Ed Commissioner David Steiner's apartment. You can see this entire group of amazing parent activists in action in the video I put together of the press conference, a video that is a must see if you want to get a sense of what is underlying the increasing resistance to Black and Bloom. I'm including that video below - only 5 minutes but well worth your time. My favorite part: when Lisa thanks Bloomberg for the appointment of Black "for putting the final nail in the coffin of mayoral control," followed by CEC3 President Noah Gotbaum's "Mayoral control is out of control."

Lisa has been a major ally of the corresponding teacher activists and has become a very good personal friend. Her defense of the kind of schools she and others helped advocate for on the Lower East Side in District 1 over the decade BEFORE BloomKlein took over is eloquent. I have a great unpublished video interview I did with her a year and a half ago talking about those years - where District 1 schools were diversified and parents did have school choice, a demonstration that public schools could be given choice within the public school system but that system was intentionally destroyed by BloomKlein so as to make it look like privatized charters were the only option - their version of The Shock Doctrine.

I haven't put it up because whenever I try to edit it into 10 minutes to fit on you tube I find there is little I can cut. I may just put up the entire interview on Vimeo as one of the best arguments against charters and mayoral control. I would have hoped that the Times would address this issue Lisa has raised repeatedly.

Lisa is famous for the puppet show she did with Jane Hirschmann at the historic Jan. 26, 2010 PEP meeting at Brooklyn Tech. She is also a charter member of the Real Reformers.

Here is the link to the press conference on Monday if it plays too slow in this window.


David Ballela said...

maybe one day the Village Voice can nominate Lisa and Leonie for their reasons to be thankful awards

Anonymous said...

No matter how much we protest, or rally against these power-hungry CEOs working at Tweed, or go to the media to expose the absolute corruption of mayoral control and its absolute abuse of power, the little people who care for the children of NYC end up losing these constant battles.

ed notes online said...

Those who sit on the sidelines feel discouraged. Those engaged in the active struggle don't see these as losses. These battles forge the resistance and bond the resisters into a guerilla fighting force for the battles to come. The calls continue to come: Don't mourn, organize!