The Emergency Coalition to Stop School Closings
Norm Seigel’s Legal Team
Maxwell HS (good to the last drop!)
Concerned Advocates for Public Education — CAPE
Grassroots Education Movement — GEM
Class Size Matters
Independent Community of Educators — ICE/UFT
Teachers for Just Contract — TJC/UFT
New York Collective of Radical Educators – NYCoRE
Coalition for Public Education — CPE
Center for Immigrant Families – CIF
Concerned Parents of East New York
PS 123 — PTA Harlem
DC-37 Local 372 (NYC Board of Ed Employees)
NY State Senator Perkins
University Heights HS
Metropolitan Corporate Academy HS
Beach Channel HS
Facing History School
John Dewey HS
Patrick Sullivan, Manhattan PEP member
Richard Barr, VP, Political Action in School District 3
Marvin Holland, TWU 100 & Take Back Our Union
Join the emerging coalition by sending representativess to our GEM meetings or formally endorsing our coalition.
If your UFT School Chapter or Parents Association will not get involved in this critical struggle for the preservation of public education and/or endorse our campaign, you can create an active local Save Our School Committtee (with schoolworkers, parents, students, community) and endorse GEM’s citywide work. Even if Bloomberg-Klein’s PEP votes to close your school or to have a charter school invade, our work to overturn Bloomberg’s destructive actions & policies will not stop.
Notables Absent at Jan.21 Rally:
• King Bloomberg
• Duke Chancellor Klein & his Panel for Educational Policy Puppets (PEPp)
• NYC Dept. of Education (TWEED officials)
• UFT — Teachers Union Officialdom (controlled by Pres. Mulgrew, UNITY & New Action Caucuses)
• UFT Brooklyn Charter School Administrators (who have invaded 2 Brooklyn Public Schools)
• Green Dots Charter School Network (supported by the UFT & provide no teacher tenure rights)
• NYC Democratic Party Politicians (with noted exceptions)
• Educational Equality Project (Sharpton-Gingrich-Duncan Alliance for Mayoral Control & Charters)
• Bill Gates
• The Walton Foundation (Sam’s Club & Walmart)
• Eli Broad
From Rafael Feliciano, President FMPR (Puerto Rico Teachers’ Union):
“Para mi es esperanzador el trabajo que esta realizando el GEM. Tenemos muchas cosas para compartir; es la misma lucha”. For me the work that GEM has achieved is a hopeful sign. We [of Puerto Rico] have much to share. It is the same struggle.”
From John Dewey HS Colleague:
It was an honor to be out there with you all, and, like you said here, the students kept the spirits flying!!!
My 2 colleagues and myself came from John Dewey HS in Bklyn, and we ended up over near the park, but when we walked passed the mayor’s residence, it was a real show of unity and strength, very impressive (as it was near the Park, only I wish we had gotten to the main area. Cops told organizers only the 100people there could be there,but there were MANY 100′ when we passed cross the street at 5:30 pm or so!!!
Now to build on the momentum. Maybe Unity [UFT party in control] can learn something from the beauty and brilliance of your organizing power and our unified resistance- they certianly don’t lead in any viable way, and haven’t since Randi W. joined her (OUR) wagon to the “Green Dot” star!!!—- that is 5 years or so ago. When will the 1000’s of our colleagues wake up to being sold down the river???? Ms. W has gone Corporate very blatantly since. She can be a poster child for the charters at this point…some “family” she is to us!!!
From new member of our Emergency Coalition:
Very important to put this in context, historical and conjunctural. Bloomberg’s current school closings and creation of a privatized, “parallel” set of schools takes place in the social context of massive drive to corporatize the public domain. Health care, the right to pollute the atmosphere, and now candidates for public office! See, for example, “Privatizing Everything “. But the historical background is important, too.
We “oldtimers” remember the opening salvos of the attacks on public education in the late 80s and 90s.
Waves of cutbacks, privatizing services, imposition of standardized testing, attacks on due process, etc. . . . leading in the last several years to the generalization of the “business model” and charters. This means that the movement against school closings has the potential for tremendous breadth in the domain of educational reform, both here in NYC and around the country, and, eventually a link-up with other opponents of the neoliberal project. It also means that we need to organize for the long-haul, build lasting and activist organizations of educators (including us adjuncts), parents andcommunities, and young people.
From a GEM member:
Thursday at Bloomberg’s was the beginning of a movement. Whether or not you think the PEP is a rubber stamp and that we should be preparing for the loss, which is what I have been hearing from many in the organizing groups. I would like to raise the more important issue that we ought to focus not so much on the outcome of the PEP but the fact that we are in the beginning stages of a movement–a movement to protect our democratic rights and the right to a public school system that provides a safe environment where students,their families are valued respected and receive as much education as their minds can absorb.
What I am saying is even if all 22 schools were voted to remain open we all know we still have work to do. Remember 90 schools have already been closed under this administration and there are deep concerns about the policies that are in place inside these public schools.
One example here:
So regardless of the outcome of Tuesday PEP we approach the event with this mindset.
19 schools were slated to be closed last night. The scumbags on the PEP passed the motions. As many speakers pointed out last night, the PEP has no authority to do this. We the workers, students, and teachers have the power to stop this. Last night not one person spoke in favor of a single school closing — not even from the panel which approved 19 of them. There is a unanimous consensus that these cuts are racist, classist attacks and must be stopped.
Now is the crucial moment. The sham PEP has been fully exposed. We must take matters into our own hands. We must walkout, occupy and strike to stop ALL school closings, layoffs, fare hikes, Metrocard cuts — all attacks on students, workers and the oppressed.
The UFT leaders must be exposed for their treachery. After weeks of demonstrations called by grassroots coalitions fed up with the UFT rubber stamping Bloomberg’s policies, the UFT leaders were forced to mobilize some rather small portions of their membership for the demonstration and meeting last night. This is not enough. The UFT, together with students and parents, has the power to shut the entire city down. Instead, union leaders share stages with politicians who pay lip service but scramble to keep us from mobilizing. The union leaders try to give us chances to symbolically display our anger without making a real fight or winning real change.
We cannot accept this intolerable situation. Thousands of teachers are facing layoffs, thousands of Black and Latino students are being displaced from their schools, and 500,000 students with free/reduced-cost Metrocards will lose these by September. Just like the UFT refuses to mobilize its teachers for a strike or actions to stop the closings, TWU100 refuses to mobilize transit workers against the MTA’s attacks on working class students.
Those of us who see and expose these betrayals must come together in common action. We must fight together so strongly that the union leaders have no choice but to support us or be sidelined entirely.
Now that the PEP has voted, we must immediately begin preparations for escalated and continued struggle, while realizing that many of our so-called “leaders” will be ready to drop the struggle and accept the PEP’s many-year plan to attack, underfund and close public schools.
Sending a message is not enough. We must make the change we seek.
NOW we must immediately fight together on these grounds:
SUPPORT MARCH 4TH ACTIONS TO DEFEND EDUCATION!
OCCUPY CLOSING SCHOOLS AND KEEP THEM OPEN!
USE AN OCCUPIED SCHOOL TO BUILD A GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR A REAL STRUGGLE AGAINST ALL ATTACKS ON EDUCATION!
STUDENTS AND WORKERS, BUILD A GENERAL STRIKE!
UFT MEMBERS, STAND TOGETHER AND FIGHT DESPITE THE TREACHERY OF THE BUREAUCRATS!
BEWARE OF ALL THOSE, EVEN IN OUR OWN RANKS, WHO STAND IN THE WAY OF THE MILITANT BATTLES NEEDED TO DEFEND OURSELVES FROM THE CAPITALIST ATTACKS!
Must of us in GEM did not have any illusions about PEP and the Jan. 26 sham. However some of our students, parents and teachers were begging Klein and those scoundrels to please vote no to the closings, such naiveté is common, some people still believe that we live in a democracy. We need to have a massive educational drive to expose the politics of the ruling class and their lap dogs, politicians, bureaucrats, etc. we need literature, popular leaflets, we need to talk to people face to face or in small groups. I also like the idea of a peoples assembly, with the participation of leaders such Charles Barron, and other strong committed leaders. But we must work together in a non sectarian way, it is not about this group or that group, but all of us working together to develop a common plan, points of unity, and organize, organize. The peoples assembly for Public Education should be an education activity for our students who were involved in the fight against the closings, their parents and the teachers, all the peoples that are not activists, but that are ready to become activists. As we educate ourselves we organize.. I support the March 4th rally, but rallies without education and organizing leads to demoralization, after the rallies the energy of people dissipates. We need students to organize students, parents to organize parents, and teachers to organize teachers, and bring every body together in some kind of action, but we can't do this without education. and we need to do it soon! GEM, ICE and all of you involved in this struggle KUDOS. Feed back please.
While I do believe Charles Barron or any politician will gladly sell us out and have interests vastly different from ours, to many people Barron has not yet been exposed. Many look to him for leadership. We should hold him to his threat to shut down Tweed! Shut down Tweed, and shut down the entire city! If we are going to stop the closings, it will take a real fight!