Thursday, October 31, 2013

UPDATE: Co-locations and the Two School Systems on the Eve of the Funeral at the PEP

*"My ... revolutionary warriors," James lauds fervently anti-PEP crowd in her speech closing
[Video from the excellent work at Ed Notes]
*What is at stake with the school co-locations *Why protest is important

Incoming public advocate Letitia James lauded teacher, student and community protesters as "my children, my advocates, my revolutionary warriors," telling a powerful anti-PEP crowd last night that there are just a few days until a new administration is voted in.

Councilwoman James' crescendo:
"But the good news, my scholars, my children, my advocates, my revolutionary warriors in just a few days, a new administration is coming to city hall . . . . In just a few days we will turn back the clock, and this [pointing to the Panel for Educational Policy] will be no more."
The crowd, especially the attending students of co-location impacted schools, went ecstatic. It picked up on her closing chant, "We want our schools back!"

We hope so. We hope that our long municipal nightmare will be no more.

 Once again the fete accompli rubber stamp of out-going mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Panel for Educational Policy, a fraud of a representative institution, is meeting tonight to officially carry out his decision to co-locate schools in over 20 pre-existing school buildings in five boroughs.

In a number of instances large comprehensive high schools will see the beginning of their slow death, with new schools squeezing them for resources.

Compare the new small schools' resources and offerings to those at the large schools under attack tonight, Clara Barton, Brooklyn, John Dewey, Brooklyn, August Martin, Queens, Long Island City, Queens, Martin Van Buren. (Links provided to schools that have not had their breadth of courses already gutted.) It is quickly apparent that the large schools have special resources that individual small schools cannot and do not match. Economies of scale afford the special offerings and special services.

Conversely, the small schools do not offer these. In opposite fashion from most high schools, conventionally in most student programs in new schools students move in joint cohorts, class to class, as in junior high schools.
Large comprehensive high schools offer:

*multiple foreign language choices

*Advanced Placement courses (though this writer has reservations with the whittling of "elite" students from "regular" students)

*better ratios of guidance counselors, social workers and psychologists to students

*wider ranges of art and music classes

*multitude of clubs that draw students to school, students that might be at risk for dropping out; hence, students see the schools as homes away from home

Other features are dropped from small schools or shared between schools, often in a gutted fashion or with access that create competition between schools include libraries and gymnasia.

If anticipated new mayor Bill de Blasio wishes to do the right thing and to distinguish himself from Bloomberg's failed record, he will sign a declaration to reverse all co-location decisions once he enters office.

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE, UFT caucus) and Change the Stakes are holding funerals for all the shuttered schools under Bloomberg's watch (and we might add under the media's acquiescence)

Here is the link for MORE's leaflet on the event. MORE's Facebook event page for the PEP.

[Contents of press release that has been circulated:]

Parents, Teachers, Clergy and Students to Rally for End To School Closures and Co-Locations

Will hold Funeral of Schools before NYCDOE Panel for Education Policy meeting to remember 168 schools closed under Bloomberg and look forward to a new era of equitable public education policy

New York, NY - On Wed., Oct. 30th at 5:15 community supporters of public education will gather outside of the Prospect Heights Campus at 883 Classon Ave in Brooklyn to hold a funeral for all the schools shuttered under the Bloomberg administration. Fathers Michael Sniffen and Chris Ballard of the Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew will officiate the festive Dia de Los Muertos-style ceremony.

Participants include the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) Caucus of the UFT, Change the Stakes, Class Size Matters, the Paul Robeson Freedom School, and allied groups.

[Postscript: Pre-PEP schools funeral memorialized here.]