Friday, February 10, 2012

Assessing the Impact - Part 1

UPDATE: Fri. Feb. 10, 11AM
Leonie has posted videos on her blog with this important comment on press. Note that she gives the Post's Yoav Gonen a top mark plus the Gotham live blog (Live-blogging the PEP: 23 school closure votes on the agenda).

Videos here:

TV reports of Thursday night massacre: protests vs. the closing of 23 schools

None of the newspaper articles capture the full rage and bitterness expressed last night by thousands of parents, students and teachers at last night's hearings, at which the Panel for Educational Policy, controlled by the mayor, rubberstamped the closing or truncation of 23 schools.  Best among the print accounts was live-blogging by GothamSchools and the NYPost article by Yoav Gonen  (GSPost).

The videos do a far better job at conveying the atmosphere, if not the substance, of what happened last night.  Below are the reports from Channel 2 news (CBS),   Channel 7 (ABC), Channel 4 (NBC), Fox News, and a short video by Michael Galinsky, maker of the Atlantic Yards documentary, Battle for Brooklyn.

Last night was one more skirmish in the battle for our public schools, and for the future of this city. Whether it will prove to be a turning point in the history of mayoral control, brought down by the administration's arrogant disregard for the views of parents, students, and community members, remains to be seen.

Friday, Feb. 10 1AM
Got home at midnight and too tired to say much so I'll let others do it -- for now.

One report from an ODOE person
I'm struck by how many of these articles make mention very clearly of the various possibilities of open meetings law violations concerning both the volume and the lockout in the lobby, and also of the police presence.  And while Fox 5, for example, does lead with the "division" between the UFT and Occupy the DOE, they also mention that the two groups "came together in the end."

The DOE and Bloomberg look really bad in all these reports, and Occupy looks, well, provocative and militant, if also chaotic.  And well, we knew that about the movement already.  I'm sure there'll be plenty of negativity flung at us over the next 48 hours or so, but so far the media is better than I expected.
The more I read the media coverage the more successful I think we were. I don't want to sugarcoat it; we definitely did not achieve what we wanted.  But if it's true that 1,800 people showed up and less than 100 signed up to speak, that means our message of boycotting got through to a whole lot of people.  And the fact that the UFT marched back and we had all forces united in one room is also a major accomplishment.  And the coverage makes clear that there was mass opposition.  Not what we wanted but not a bad start.

And a short film by Battle for Brooklyn film director Michael Galinsky:
from NY1:

Fox 5 called it a "family scene"

Gotham Schools live-blogged it:

The NYTimes also live blogged:

Anna Phillips' report in NYT.

Daily News:

Tension high as thousands crash Brooklyn hearing for closing of 23 schools

Panel for Education Policy expected to approve the shutdowns despite outcry

By Ben Chapman AND Rachel Monahan / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Thursday, February 9, 2012, 11:29 PM

Description: A raucous meeting on the controversial closing of 23 schools takes place at Brooklyn Technical High School.

Anthony Lanzilote for New York Daily News

Meeting was raucous, and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott blasted the teachers union for helping fill 

Description: Powered by Inform
MORE THAN 2,000 protesters swarmed a contentious hearing Thursday night on the city’s plan to close 23 struggling schools.
Despite the protests, the Panel for Education Policy was expected to approve the closures before the end of the meeting at Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene.
“People are getting fed up,” said teachers union president Michael Mulgrew told the Daily News. “They’re sick and tired of schools being blamed for the failure of the city.”
Inside the meeting the protesters chanted and drowned out officials who attempted to direct the meeting.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott took aim at the union for working with Occupy Wall Street demonstrators to disrupt the hearings.
“There are important proposals up for discussion,” Walcott said. “If all the (teachers union) wants to do is bus in Occupy Wall Street protesters . . . then we will just have to work around that.”
The panel, the majority of whose members are appointed by the mayor, have never voted down a school closing.
The Bloomberg administration has approved closing 117 failing public schools since 2002, and it has opened 396.
Over 100 people were scheduled to speak at the hearing, including dozens of activists and elected officials who blasted the city for closing schools.

Read more:


  1. An NBC news anchor was also at the PEP covering the story live for the 11:00 news. She was standing outside reporting and this WAS THE FIRST BREAKING NEWS STORY for the half hour. It was actually a good story for the people, and not so positive for the DOE.

    1. I think the coverage has been decent from our point of view. The press got the ODOE/UFT yin-yang -- which actually plays out well for the UFT in some ways as they can't be pinned as the rads. Lots to do for ODOE as in some ways this was the coming out party.

    2. I think having a press spokesperson from ODOE may be a good idea. The news anchors have been mostly stating that the protesters are causing 'chaos' and the DOE is known for rubber stamping decisions. No one is really focusing in on that the protests at these events are actually more than organized with an actual focused agenda. The media has been mentioning more and more that the last time decisions have been voted against school closings and phase outs, Bloomberg removed those people within minutes. This is the good news. The more and more people from coalition groups fight back, more people will start to see 'the iron wall'. Or at least 1 can hope.

  2. Yes, Tracie...the major "anchors, and MSM typically dumb everything down to either a shouting match, or opinions (marching orders) masked as objective journalism. During the Wisconsin fiasco last year, I didn't see any of the major sources taking ,say, five minutes, to tell of the labor history in this country- so the avergae viewer could get some perspective on the issues.

    Here, you can see the "iron wall" of propaganda at work. Issues are not discussed-just pure emotion.


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