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Free ALL Of The Schools Held Hostage!

Today, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYC Department of Education released seven of the thirty-three schools they had been holding hostage.

The NYC DoE announced that it would not close the schools which had a grade of “A” or “B” on this year’s School Progress Reports – Maxwell High School, Harlem Renaissance High School, Intermediate School 136, Brooklyn School for Global Studies, Cobble Hill School of American Studies, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, and William E. Grady High School.

Clearly, the growing opposition to Bloomberg’s reckless mass closure of public schools has taken its toll. The single-minded reliance upon mass closure of schools as their sole strategy demonstrates the exhaustion of educational ideas at City Hall and Tweed. And the embarrassment of closing schools that the NYC DoE itself had given high grades had become too high a price to bear.

But the school hostage crisis is not over. Twenty-six schools, including 12 other schools which do not meet the DoE’s own minimum criteria for closure, remain under the Tweed guillotine. And there is an agreement, signed by Chancellor Walcott and President Mulgrew, which places all of these schools in the Transformation and Restart models. That agreement must be followed.

So long as one school which does not deserve to be closed is held hostage by Bloomberg and the DoE, the UFT and all of NYC public school communities will continue the struggle to save them.

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6 Comments:

  • 1 Dimitrios Gallis
    · Apr 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Although Im thrilled that my school, FDR, a B school, is off the turnaround list, I agree that the fight is not over. The union should fight for every one of these schools to be put back on transformation/restart. We’ve been put through hell since January. Now, we can devote more of our time to our students instead of working on resumes and portfolios to demonstrate our effectiveness to the “interviewers.”

  • 2 phyllis c. murray
    · Apr 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    As educators we know that the “key ingredient” for community schools is adequate funding for instructional programs, extended learning opportunities, and enriched health and social services. Effective teachers also know that often they must use their own personal resources to create classroom environments which are viable; write proposals to fund extended learning opportunities; and lobby in Albany to secure better health and safety conditions. Then teachers must lobby for additional psychologists, social workers, and guidance counselors.

    The failure of local and state governments to provide funding to economically poor citizens and their schools would otherwise compromise the teachers’ efforts and the future of this great nation. The truly dedicated educators have seen miracles happen daily for years as their students’ dreams were realized. Fortunately, this is not a new phenomenon throughout the nation. Good teachers have always made a difference in the lives of their students. Case in point:

    Directly after the Emancipation Proclamation “the exceptionally gifted rose above the staggering obstacle of quasi-freedom,” said Martin Luther King at the UFT Spring Conference in 1964. “It is precisely because education is a road to equality and citizenship that it has been made more elusive for Negroes than many other rights. The warding off of Negroes from equal education is part of the historical design to submerge him in second class status.” And today we can see this happening as the rich-poor gap is allowed to widen in NYC, New Orleans, Alabama, Mississippi, and even Washington, DC, the nation’s capital.

    King reminded UFTers in 1964 that: “education for all Americans, white and black, has always been inadequate. The richest nation on earth has never allocated enough of its abundant resources to build sufficient schools, to compensate adequately its teachers, and to surround them with the prestige their work justifies.” Therefore, when we read the “Rich-Poor Gap Widens” not only for individuals but for schools in general,” we cannot be surprised.”More economists are drawing the conclusions that a good education is one of the gateways to wealth creation for individuals as well as for nations.” (Education Trust) Yet, benign neglect seems to be the mantra of many in political office who turn their backs on the ones who need quality education the most as the budget cuts cut-away at the dollars earmarked for public education.

    The Campaign for Fiscal Equity has become a prime example of how the state was not providing adequate funding to NYC Public Schools. And as educators, we know that the resources needed to implement new programs designed by the city are inadequate. Thus, we were not surprised to learn that “New York also stands out for neglecting to fairly fund poor and minority school districts. New York spends $2,280 less per student in its poorest districts than its does on students educated in its wealthiest school districts. Even after New York was ordered to deal with these funding gaps, policy makers have failed to take action.” (Education Trust Report 2005)

    John Hendrik Clarke said, “History is a clock. It tells us where we are, but more importantly, what we must be.’ If we are the union, we must continue to fight for equity for all. And as members of The United Federation of Teachers, we must continue to keep the pressure on legislators from Albany, NY to Washington, DC. Our quest must be to secure public schools that reflect democracy in action because… the children are waiting.
    Phyllis C. Murray
    UFT Chapter Leader
    P.S. 75X

  • 3 Mary Conway-Spiegel
    · Apr 3, 2012 at 6:20 am

    No school deserves to be closed. Closure is not a tool, it’s psychological warfare based on bogus one-size-fits-all “measurements.” Every drop of this process is a distraction from educating children/our youth and not a broad, random mix of our students…our neediest students.
    It’s not transparent, it’s not ethical, it’s not humanitarian, it’s somehow shockingly legal and it’s not putting children first…ever.

  • 4 CookieJar
    · Apr 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    I received my Education at FDR High School. It’s a great school filled with intelligent teachers and students. I’m happy now it’s off the list! More efforts are needed.

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  • 6 Anil
    · Apr 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Mr. Bloomberg is a corporate business man. He should know it better. When a business fails to show positive results, you change the top / senior management and not shut down the business or change it”s name or even remove the juniors or daily workers, as they are not the decision makers.