Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fight Back Friday - School Communities Across the City to Participate, UFT Delegates Serenaded at DA

Fight Back Friday at the UFT Delegate Assembly
I know I've been haranguing you about the importance of getting your school involved in Fight Back Friday. I was part of a coalition of groups supporting FBF at yesterday's Delegate Assembly.

I tried to tell the delegates that a consistent monthly action in front of their schools would have a bigger impact than the mostly uncovered May 12 rally. But rallies are easy. Go, march, go home and forget about it.

Organizing at the school level is hard. Some of FBF supporters have reached out to neighboring schools and are now working in tandem. Imagine a bunch of elementary schools along with the local middle schools affecting an entire neighborhood! The UFT says it wants this to happen but is not actively supporting FBF.


Many of the participants in this action are new to the action at the DA, which was poorly attended. Many of them are young idealistic teachers who haven't yet been featured on the front page of the NY Times - maybe because they actually support teacher rights and oppose the use of high stakes tests to measure teacher performance.

Serenading UFT Delegates as they depart Delegate Assembly
At the end of the meeting, the group serenaded the departing delegates, urging them, most of them Unity Caucus, to join in union solidarity songs. Few did. They seemed embarrassed.

Here is a brief video I shot of the singing (we will not be appearing on American Idol) followed by the FBF press release. Link here to watch directly on you tube: http://youtu.be/EkXNf_Ff6aE






Date:  Friday, May 20, 2011     
Contact:
Sam Coleman, Educator, PS 24K, NYCORE/GEM:  646-354-9362
Lisa Donlan, Parent, President CEC1:  917-848-587
Yelena Siwinski, Educator, PS 193K, ICE: (917) 628-3588

School Communities Across the City to Participate in Fight Back Friday
Bloomberg and the DOE must stop wasting our money and start prioritizing public education:  No school-based budget cuts and no educator lay-offs!

On Friday May 20th, school communities across the city will take differentiated actions to protest Mayor Bloomberg's destructive education policies, including his latest budget announcement that includes the elimination of 6,000 teaching positions, 4,700 through lay-offs.  Individual schools will hold rallies, sign postcards directed at City Council representatives, disseminate flyers to spread awareness about where Mr. Bloomberg’s spending priorities lie, and they will wear black to, “take our schools back” as well as stickers proclaiming the Real Reforms our Mayor should be fighting for.
$350 Million dollars is needed to prevent educator lay-offs and prevent disastrous consequences for our children including increased class sizes and loss of programming.  Mayor Bloomberg’s budget allocates $700 million for charter schools, $542 million in new technology, and hundreds of millions on testing. Parents, educators, children, and community members stand united in demanding our City Council reject the Mayor’s budget and call on Mr. Bloomberg to stop wasting our money and start to prioritize public education and local community public schools.

Fight Back Fridays began last June when school communities united to fight proposed budget cuts, lay-offs and other disastrous educational policies.  This year, Fight Back Fridays have continued throughout the city.  To visit a school community that is participating in a Fight Back Friday or for more information, please contact the parents and educators listed in this release.

Some Fight Back Friday participants include:
PS 261, Brooklyn, PS 321 Brooklyn, Sunset Park High School Brooklyn, PS 306, Queens, PS 69 Queens, PS 503, Brooklyn, Facing History School, Manhattan, International School for Liberal Arts, Lehman High School, Bronx, PS 368, Bronx, PS 230, Brooklyn, Paul Robeson High School, Brooklyn, PS 24, Brooklyn. MS 136, Brooklyn, PS 193, Brooklyn, Bushwick School for Social Justice, Academy for Urban Planning, PS 157, Brooklyn, Green School, Brooklyn, PS 123, Manhattan, Frederick Douglass Academy 5, Bronx, El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, Brooklyn, PS 15, Brooklyn, East Brooklyn Community High School in Canarsie, PAIHS, Queens, Neighborhood School, Manhattan, Childrens' Workshop School, Manhattan, James Baldwin School, Manhattan, Humanitites Prep, Manhattan, Lyons High School, Brooklyn, FDR High School, Brooklyn, Goldstien High School, Brooklyn, Jamaica High School, Queens, Bronx international HS, Morris campus, High School for Excellence, Morris campus, Alfred E Smith High School, Bronx Families, teachers, and school staff are also meeting in front of PS 10 in Brooklyn and will march along 7th avenue to join PS 295, MS 88, and New Voices respectively.


Endorsers include: Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), Teachers Unite (TU), People Power Movement (PPM), Teachers for a Just Contract (TJC), New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCORE), Concerned Advocates for Public Education (CAPE), Independent Community of Educators (ICE)
Additional Contacts:
Mark Torres, Educator, Frederick Douglass Academy 5, Bronx, People Power Movement, 646-696-8485
Emily Giles, Educator, Bronx International High School, Teachers Unite, 917-575-2936

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