Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Resistance Grows: Actions this week- GEM Meets Monday and FIght Back Friday

Reminder: GEM meeting tomorrow -

There's a busy week coming up for The Resistance Fighters fighting the ed deformers. I'm having trouble keeping up.

Fight Back Friday: We are all Wisconsin!  Same Struggle, Same Fight!
I was interviewed by a reporter on Friday who was asking about what we hope to accomplish with Fight Back Fridays. I told her this was a rank and file led movement coming directly out of the schools and not led and promoted by the UFT leadership as March 22 is (we support that too.) But in order to build a union from the bottom up these kinds of actions touch base with people - staff and parents and community who might not be fully informed. So far pockets of activity in long dormant schools have been activated. FBF is a grassroots movement that if it ever reached a couple of hundred schools could begin to have an impact both on the DOE and more importantly, push the UFT towards a stronger defense of public education. Interesting that the reporter didn't seem to like it when I used the term "defense from the attacks on public ed" and tried to put words in my mouth. I haven't seen any article quoting me yet - I think this was the Daily News - the reporter was covering 3 Queens schools FBF actions -Jamaica HS (see the video I posted yesterday), PS 30 and another school.

A FBF tooklit for schools to use with ready made leaflets has been created. So even if all your school does is have people wear black to take your school back or have a lunchtime teach-in on Wisconsin, sign on to the list by email Sam to get your school on the list and get the toolkit:

One other thing developing: some of the activists are turning FBF into after school Happy Hour meetups with neighboring schools. I'll keep you posted as they come in so you can pop in if one's in your area - or better still, let me know of your school happy hours so others can join.

Events this week
I had a busy last couple of weeks and have not had much time to do much blogging. I was at the Left Forum all day yesterday taping 3 panels, including our standing room only viewing of our filmed response to Waiting for Superman (The Inconvenient Truth Behind WFS) Here is what I have so far for this week. Ed Notes will try to cover as much as possible with video and commentary.
  • Monday, Mar. 21: GEM Meeting at CUNY, 5PM: 34st and 5th ave, rm 5414. See the GEM blog for meeting agenda and updates. (Fightback Friday
  • Tuesday, Mar. 22: EDUSolidarity- bloggers
    As we all know, teachers and our unions, along with those of other public sector employees, face unprecedented attacks in the national media and from local and state governments. It is easy for politicians and the media to demonize the "unions" and their public faces; it is far more difficult to demonize the millions of excellent teachers who are proud union members. Those of us who are excellent teachers and who stand in solidarity with our unions are probably no stranger to the question "Well, why are you involved with the union if you're a good teacher?" It's time for us to stand up and answer that question loudly and clearly.
    Citywide actions in schools - Wear red
  • Weds, Mar. 23: PEP meeting at Brooklyn Tech
  • Thurs, Mar. 24: Day of Rage Against City Budget Cuts, Rally-5PM @ City Hall, March to Wall Street @ 6PM
  • Friday, Mar. 25: Fight Back Friday - school level actions plus press conf at Tweed at 4:30
  • Saturday, Mar. 26: NYCORE conference all day at Julia Richman HS campus
Did I leave anything out?

Here are some details on the GEM/NYCORE promoted actions :

***More than a dozen schools already signed on!!

To all Educators, Students, Parents and School Workers of NYC Public Schools:

For information, or to get the Fight Back Friday tool kit, email:

NYCORE and GEM are sponsoring actions at schools across the city.
Fight back Fridays have been happening since last June and have been growing in strength!

Next FridayMarch 25, Schools all over the city will be taking actions to make our voices heard!

 We are all Wisconsin!  Same Struggle, Same Fight!
  • Teacher Protections, Protect Children
  • Layoffs Hurt Children
  • Budget Cuts Hurt Children
  • Let's Put Children First

A Fight Back Friday action can be as simple as having folks wear black and wear a sticker.“Wear black, take our schools back!”.
Schools can have informational pickets, where just a few people are out fliering about the cuts and layoffs and other attacks. Other schools will have full blown pickets before or after school, with staff, parents and students.

We will send you a “tool-kit” either by email, or you can come pick up material from mid-town on Monday. The tool kit will have fliers in 3 or 4 languages that talk about the cuts, the layoffs, the attacks on seniority etc. We have stickers that people can wear with various messages, petitions you can get signed, chants you can use and other goodies. We can send someone to meet with your staff and help you plan.

We will be sending out press releases to announce our actions as well as holding a press conference on that day at 4:30 at Tweed. We will be collecting pictures and video to spread awareness of our actions.

These actions will continue to build the base of teachers and community members willing to stand up for justice in education.
We will push our union to become more militant in the face of these attacks.
We must stop being afraid to take action. We must build a fighting union that works WITH the families we serve and that FIGHTS for justice.

Email: to get information or to get the tool kit.


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

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