Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Educators use Occupy Movement to Empower Students, Defend Public Education


NY Times Schoolbook coverage: http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2011/11/08/tweed-protesters-decry-privatization-of-schools

Another video from Jaisal Noor on yesterday's ODOE- that one of GEM's amazing parent activists Janine Sopp with her daughter.


If you saw my post last night of the action on the steps of Tweed (OCCUPY The DOE)
you can see a whole new generation of teachers taking charge of the movement. You'll note that this is an independent movement of NYC teachers not controlled by the UFT. While mildly critical of the UFT, whenever they mention the union is it not with the kind of critical eye I turn on them - I guess it takes about 40 years of dealing with Unity Caucus before you give up - but they talk about pushing the UFT leaders to take action in defense of public education. Good luck!

One of the exciting things for me is the expansion of video coverage of education events by independent professional or semi-professional videographers and reporters - people who really know how to tell a story. This takes a lot of pressure off me to be there to film every event. But without adequate editing skills or working with more than one camera, or without the time to really work up a piece, I am often left to throw up the entire unedited video.

I really need to learn how to do what Meerkat Media or Jaisal Noor at The Real News does in this great video story featuring some of the movement's fabulous teacher/organizers.


Filmaker Michael Galinsky whose "Battle for Brooklyn" resonated with so many people has gotten involved in the Battle for Public Ed since the school his child attends was co-located. Here is a piece he wrote connecting the OWS to the ODOE movement that in just a few weeks has taken off.

Last week on buzzflash I wrote about the connection between our film “Battle for Brooklyn” and OWS. Last year, as we completed Battle, we started to make a film about education in NY. We saw intense similarities between the way in which parents were shut out of the education process and the way in which communities were shut out of the development process. Our daughters’ school felt under attack by the DOE, and we heard rumors that they planned on putting a charter school in our building. We started to examine the way in which decisions were made and information flowed, and we found a thoroughly corrupted system that was gamed to shut out parent and community involvement. It was once again, a top down management style that did not take into consideration the voices of those most affected by decision makers.
The process, of housing one school inside another has a tendency to pit neighbor against neighbor, forcing them to fight over scarce resources in the guise of fostering competition. If the community is divided, those in power have a much easier time of doing what they want. We witnessed both development fights and school fights using sham public forums to create the impression of public involvement. However these public meetings were almost always overrun by division. We saw this time and time again in the Atlantic Yards fight, and it was clearly taking place in the schools fight. In fact democratic leader Jo Ann Simon made this direct point at a meeting about inserting one charter school in another public school
Last year I wrote a piece about our process of starting a film about education in NY. The times they have a changed in an unbelievable way. Last year the people accepted the fact that they would have to fight each other for scraps. In the following video there is anger at the DOE from all sides, but a lot of that anger is also based around communities fighting each other. Charter schools brought their supporters and the threatened schools brought theirs. In the end the vast majority of people walked out. The charter supporters stayed, and they got their schools. People walked out en masse because they knew that they weren’t going to be listened to and they were fed up. The public meeting was a sham, and people knew it.
This year the people took over the PEP meeting using consensus techniques learned at Occupy Wall Street, rendering those in power essentially useless. Thankfully it was captured by meerkat media collectiveso that we have direct evidence that the occupy movement has moved from anger to rage to action.
From the first moments of my first visit to occupy wall street I had a sense that something momentous was taking place. This morning, when I saw this video by meerkat media that cinematically captures the people taking control in a consensus model it was clear that the movement has powerful legs to carry it.

1 comment:

  1. Every UFTer who has not attended several DAs should be asked to do so...they won't have to wait forty years to see the truth behind Unity and their "democractic centralist" ways.

    Democratic Centralism in practice

    Anti-Communist in philosophy


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