Archive for the 'Occupy Wall Street' Category

Anti Racist Rally Held at Tweed to Demand Immediate Investigation

July 8, 2013
A diverse crowd

A diverse crowd

Reacting to allegations of language as astounding as it is repulsive, an appropriately diverse group of educators, union activists, parents, students, and politicos gathered on the steps of Tweed Courthouse, head quarters of NYC Department of Education, to demand an “an immediate, rapid and unbiased investigation by the Chancellor’s office into allegations that Minerva Zanka, a Queens principal called African American teachers she was firing “big lipped,” “nappy haired,” and “gorillas.” The rally drew significant media coverage, including ABC News.

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The terminated teachers, John Flanagan and Heather Hightower who until recently taught at Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Queens, related their stories before a passionately supportive gathering.

John Flanagan

John Flanagan

 Lisa-Erika James, theater teacher at Pan- American International HS.

Lisa-Erika James, theater teacher at Pan- American International HS.

Members of various groups including the Movement for Rank and File Educators ( MORE ) spoke in support of the two teachers. Missing from the rally was Assistant Principal Anthony Ricardo to whom Zanka made the alleged statements. In typical DOE fashion, instead of being commended for his ethical actions, Ricardo himself was reportedly told to find work elsewhere. The DOE under Bloomberg is notorious for protecting principals no matter what they do, often warehousing them as assistant principals in different schools or finding work for them at Tweed at enormous cost to taxpayer.

Flanagan, Hightower and Ricardo are all deserving of the support of all people of good faith. Anything less than an immediate investigation into this incident would render the DOE, despite its often-lofty rhetoric, complicit in outright racism.

Mike Schirtzer of MORE:" There is no place in our city for hate."

Mike Schirtzer of MORE:” There is no place in our city for hate.”

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The Ignorant and the Egregious: Educators 4 Excellence Hold a Rally

December 3, 2012
The egregious Evan Stone declares "I am not satisfactory!  I am excellent."

The egregious non teacher E4E leader Evan Stone declares  insanely, “I am not satisfactory! I am excellent!”

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Educators 4 Excellence is nothing if not an extraordinary organization.  It is so because it is simultaneously astoundingly arrogant, totally devious and utterly pathetic.  But what else, really, can you expect from a organization that pretends to be a grassroots collection of teachers but whose real reason for existence is to insidiously further the will of their sugar daddy, private citizen Bill Gates and his hedge fund pals in their relentless campaign to privatize the public school system?  What else can you say about a group of teachers whose leaders taught for two or three years (now living quite cozily on Gates Foundation welfare) and believe they have figured out how best to teach and run entire school systems? How else can you define a group of teachers who blather on about desiring “excellence” but whose every policy is a shameless echo of every education hustle and fad in the land?  How can you possibly respect a group of teachers who are so empty and lacking in self awareness that they believe the only way they can improve as teachers is to have principals, an increasing percentage of whom have little or no educational experience at all, provide them with constant “feed back? “

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How can you take seriously a group of teachers who are so ignorant  (or pretend to be so ignorant) that they look stunned when you inform them that every  dime of the $30 million Race to the Top extortion money will be spent, not on teachers and schools, but on consultants and corporations and other lucky players in the Corporate Education Industrial Complex.   How can you not find reprehensible a group of teachers who rally, not for their fellow teachers who are being hounded and demoralized and degraded by an increasingly insane system, nor for their beloved students whose schools are being shut down and communities disrupted, but for the teacher’s union to immediately agree to an evaluation system riddled with mechanisms designed to destroy the careers of their fellow teachers?

What really can you say about people who, in the face of the greatest assault on public education in American history, gather in a park on a Sunday afternoon to bellow idiocies such as    “We want a deal! “ and ‘ I am not satisfactory! I am excellent!”  And “ We crave feedback” , in  a desperate  attempt to please those committing  said  assault who are simultaneously their financial backers ?

What can one conclude about the authenticity of any organization whose membership is   infinitesimal and whose every policy is a crude re-writing of union busting corporate education reform policies yet it granted instant credibility and glowing press reports and editorials in the New York Post and Fox News right out of the egg?

What can you possibly say about the integrity of a teacher who claims he left teaching and joined the leadership of the E4E, not because it infinitely easier and more lucrative than teaching,  but because he just couldn’t bear to work under the present evaluation system any longer ?

How can you not find despicable an organization of teachers who would if they could leave teachers with as many rights as an employee of McDonald’s while feeding their students a steady diet of test prep because this is what their hidden backers, billionaires and hedge fund managers, have required them to do ?

Such is the farce, the disgusting and devious  farce,  called Educators 4 Excellence.

Addendum: What follows is a post containing the ridiculous pretense for the ridiculous rally.  Like the statements on the signs shown above, it speaks for itself.

My name is Kate Schuster, and I am an elementary ESL teacher at PS 38. Last Tuesday I attended an E4E event with over 150 teachers and Chancellor Walcott, to discuss evaluation. As a result of the event, and the urgency of the issue, I will be rallying tomorrow and I want YOU to join me. 
Here is a quote from my recent blog post about the event that explains why I am rallying:“We are the change makers. We are the ones that turn non-readers into lovers of books, a writer of simple sentences into an essayist. We can use those same skills to be a part of this conversation and policy-making. This is why I am attending E4E’s “Move Beyond Satisfactory” rally this Sunday at City Hall. The rally is our chance to tell the DOE and the UFT that teachers want a better evaluation system administered by school leaders who are well trained to support our teaching.
Please stand with me on Sunday. The rally will be a ton of fun and it’s incredibly easy to get to. Plus you’ll get one of the sweet beanies I’m wearing in the picture above!
You’ll find a map, including all nearby subways, and the details below.
Sunday, December 2nd at 2PM
City Hall Park
Swag and coffee: 2PM
Start: 2:30PM
Finished: 3:00PM
Hope to see you there,
Kate
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 Lastly,  there is the truth.

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A Talk on Education, Democracy and Freedom: The Unspeakable Price of Corporate Education Reform

November 12, 2012

Mary House

For the past two years, as part of the Catholic Worker Friday Night Lecture Series, I have given talks on the corporate and oligarchic campaign to expropriate the American public school system, corporatize all aspects of education, and obliterate the teachers’ union all in the name of “education reform.”  The campaign continues unabated.
This year I will be speaking on what I perceive to be the price of said “education reform” on our already anemic democracy and the unspoken motivations, ideological as well as monetary,  behind it.
The talk will be held at Mary House on December 7, 2012 and begin at 7:45.  It will last about 45 minutes and be followed by a Q and A.
The event is free and all are welcome.
Mary House is located at 55 East 3rd St, NY, NY 10003 between 1st and 2nd Ave   near the F train as well as the 4, 5, and 6 trains.
Telephone: 212 777 9617
Hope to see you there.
Patrick

Thousands of Workers Rally in New York’s Union Square

July 24, 2012

Thousands of people among them  hotel employers, car washers,  farm workers,  members of the Disabled Civil Right Movement and teachers joined ranks in solidarity with the 8,500 locked out Con Ed workers to protest the ever more degrading conditions of the American workforce in a rally in Union Square this afternoon. The official name of the rally was the National Day of Action for Workers Rights and Fair Wages and a major demand of many of the workers was a raise in the unlivable minimum wage. There was noticeable support for the workers from representatives of various faiths.   The following photos of the rally were  taken by Loren Hart.

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Occupy Wall Street Is Alive and Well at Zucotti Park

November 20, 2011

I arrived at Zuccoti Park this evening just as the bells of the majestic Trinity Church were ringing seven times.  It was immediately evident and extremely heartening to see, once again, that Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s grotesque and brutal attempt to break the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement has failed as utterly as have his equally grotesque and brutal attempt to  “reform” the public school system.

There were groups there I’d never seen present before, particularly the 9/11 Truth people.

There was the beginning of a new library to replace the ample one that Bloomberg had ordered  to be trashed.

There were the members of the unions that Bloomberg has tried to undermine or destroy.  There was the announcement that the United Federation of Teachers  were  hosting an intergenerational dialogue about defending the  social contract this Monday morning  at UFT headquarters.   There were the old and the young, the black and the white, the every religion and non religion under the moon, all united to say again and again and again until it  is finally heard and made manifest: we are sick to death of  the brutal, degrading  rule by the Bloomberg’s of this world: America must change: America must live up to its promise:  America must, at last,  save itself  from the reign of  the insane.

The park was filled with the beaten but unbroken and it was beautiful to behold.