Thursday, February 9, 2012

Message from ODOE to Teachers at Closing Schools: Don't Leave PEP Despite UFT Walkout

I'm going to go into more detail in what is going on in a follow-up. So keep an eye out. If you are going consider what Occupy DOE is urging you to do even if the UFT says otherwise. Boy, is the leadership a trip?
Attention UFT Members: 

Please consider sending this letter to a) members of your chapter, or chapters you know who are attending the PEP protest tomorrow and b) UFT leadership - President Michael Mulgrew, and Anthony Harmon, the UFT director of parent and community outreach, It would also be useful to hand out on UFT buses headed to the protest.

Dear UFT Member/Leader

On behalf of Occupy DOE, I would like to invite you to use the People's Microphone to defend your school, and public education as a whole, at the Thursday, February 9th meeting of the Panel for Education policy, inside the auditorium at Brooklyn Tech High School. 

Rather than walking away from the public hearing this evening, and avoiding a confrontation with the Mayor's puppets, why not stay and directly speak truth to power? 

Our plan is to open up the meeting on Thursday evening to the assembled communities of parents, students and teachers, and give representatives from each closing school community an opportunity to speak. Students, parents and teachers will be the first to speak.  We will then ask community stakeholders gathered in the auditorium to take a vote on each school closing - the people should decide, not the Mayoral appointees who will be fired if they disregard the Mayor's wishes. 

By uniting inside the auditorium at Brooklyn Tech, we can collectively use our voices and our power. 

In the spirit of mass civil disobedience, we will replace the puppets' vote with a peoples' vote.  Our protest will be peaceful and will not risk arrest.

But we can only prevent the puppet vote if you come in and join us! 

We know that that there are plans underway for a "People's PEP" event taking place at PS 20, a few blocks away.  But by taking community members, teachers and students away from a direct confrontation with the Mayor's puppets, this event will only allow Walcott and his cronies to vote in peace with no opposition.  As District 13 parent leader Khem Irby wrote, "This action is dividing parents and teachers who are working together against this machine ... It only makes it harder for a parent advocate like myself to trust that the people at the top have our children's best interests at heart."

We want them to be forced to hear the testimony of those affected by their decisions, and to hear it repeated by the hundreds gathered in the auditorium, until  the PEP is unable to proceed with their meeting because of the power of the voices in the room.  Dividing our protest only aides the forces of mayoral control, and will not help to defend our schools against the closing onslaught.  The protest inside the auditorium will be completely lawful. 

Only when we are united can we hope to change the tide that Mayoral Control has brought us!

In Solidarity, 

UFT Member

1 comment:

  1. I was describing this situation of closing a school down on June 30 and reopening with a new name and number on July 1 to a private sector worker and she wanted to know why this would not be considered fraud. Are they getting around this by changing the staff--but if they keep some of the staff is it enough to be considered fraud.

    My second question is that what happens to the kids who put these schools down in the high school application process and then these school no longer exist. Is the DOE saying that no students are applying to these schools and they are all applying to the same five small schools. Thus, we can then determine that these schools are de facto dumping grounds for all the students the small school reject. We know this is a reality but no one wants to publicly acknowledge this and the DOE has created this entire situation- a manufactured crisis to change the working conditions for teachers.


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