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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last night at the Panel for Educational Policy, we occupied the DOE!

Last night was inspiring as, for once, the 99% had their say at a Panel for Educational Policy meeting. 

The meeting, supposed to be a presentation of the Common Core standards, was very quickly taken over by teachers, parents, students and education activists, some of them from Occupy Wall Street.  We used the "people's mic" to drown out the speeches of Chancellor Walcott and David Coleman, who soon exited the stage to give their lessons upstairs.

Most of us remained in the auditorium for another hour and a half, talking about the rising class sizes, the overemphasis on high stakes testing, the way real learning is being squeezed out of the classroom because of the repeated budget cuts and damaging priorities of the  1% , including Bloomberg, Bill Gates and the Walton family, who are setting policies for our schools against the priorities of the 99% and the needs of our kids.

And the rest of the country and the world were able to watch, via Live Stream Occupy Wall St.  See below.

Join us at the next Occupy DOE event: a People’s General Assembly on Public Education on Monday, Nov. 7th at Tweed at 5 PM, when we will create a People's Agenda for our Schools!

And please leave a comment about some of your favorite speakers.  I loved the little girl at about 16 minutes in.


occupynyc on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for ruining the meeting for those who wish a true dialog with the DOE.

No wonder the administration burns out and gives up trying.

Leonie Haimson said...

We have been trying for nine years to have a real dialogue with the DOE. Hasn't happened yet, unfortunately. They clearly aren't interested.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for standing up for the unheard voices in the DOE, just beware of the crazy UNION of teachers, who unfortunately do not represent the voices of their members effectively! The fact that the DOE walked away is self evidence that they will not listen or even try to come with an agreement.

EDUCATION=FREEDOM

Anonymous said...

Thank you for highlighting the sham that the DOE is. We all know there is no "dialogue"- only a selling of bad decisions that we have not an iota of ability to affect.

Anonymous said...

Leonie:

The dialog isn't "we want / you won't listen."

The dialog should be we have a limited pie; how can we help you get us smaller classes with the resources we have, (without sacrificing things that are good?) Encourage efficiency, flexible rules. Have a continuing panel with reps from the teachers union, adm and PEP and given them all authority to make some changes. Co-opt the good things that Charters do, and bring those changes into the public system.

Of course the pie should be larger too, but that's another subject.

Leonie Haimson said...

What? "Have a continuing panel with reps from the teachers union, adm and PEP and given them all authority to make some changes"? Where are the parents? Clearly you don't care what parents think either.

The DOE has a $20B budget. They could afford to reduce class size and provide an adequate education to our kids. They choose not to care.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the first poster realizes that there is never a true dialog at any of those meetings. The DOE talks and the parents have to just take it. Our children are sitting in overcrowded classrooms. In our school class size has gone up nearly 1/3 on average in the past 3 years! We have a mediocre mandated curriculum with more and more emphasis on bubble test prep at the school level. Our children are heading to MS and HS way under prepared because of it. The idea that there is any give and and take and that parents have ANY say in DOE policy decisions is a joke. So it may have seem disruptive to some it was probably the only way to be heard. Keep up the good fight for our children!

Anonymous said...

Disappointing

Anonymous said...

same thing here in michigan, very sad for my children

One of the Many said...

Excellent! Great job by Parents & NYC's true Education Activists to disrupt the pubic ROBBER Stamping that gets done at every PEP meeting. Last night the PEP and Chancellor got the message that we are fed-up with them and the DoE. Hopefully, the pressure will remain on those in the PEP with ANY conscience and they will join us by challenging their directive by Bloomberg & Company to destroy public education.

Miriam Aristy-Farer said...

You know I went there, ran there leaving my 2 kids way up in District 6 to be there. Did I get the breakdown on common core standards, no but I experienced an incredible show of unity and democracy, this is what our country was about. The admins are burnt out because they have failed to make education a priority. Just today announced. 10 billion to run the 7 train to NJ....
BTW I learned about common core standards last year, yeah a tiny step in the right direction but as parents for 5 years we are telling you what r the priorities...What should we give up? like we never asked? True dialog with DOE isn't that what this is all about?

Lisa Donlan said...

Dear Anon who said: "Thank you for ruining the meeting for those who wish a true dialog with the DOE.

No wonder the administration burns out and gives up trying."

Whaaa???
How was this scripted, tightly controlled, top down lecture in any way a true dialogue?

There is not enough room in a comment box to even begin to address how these standards, their adoption and their implementation is not in the realm of "dialog" of any kind.

Please contact me off line if you want a true dialogue- using your true identity, perhaps.

You will have to explain how "the admin burns out and stops trying" (sorry- please also point out when they STATRED trying) and how, if true, this is the parents fault?
Only a DoE toadie would blame the parents for the lack of parent engagement, IMHO.

As a parent who has attended hundreds of DoE events framed as PEPs, trainings, briefings, forums, work groups, presentations or dialogues, I can tell you last night was the ONLY time parents (and we were many) were given a voice and were empowered to use it.

Many did, and powerfully.

The top down meeting occurred upstairs in a really small group so anyone who wanted to was able to participate as advertised in the DoE event.
Nothing was ruined and much was gained!

Anonymous said...

I applaud Leonie and CSM for their great work but I am always interested in hearing both sides. That was a waste of my time. I am capable of making informed decisions

Steven Hinch said...

"The dialog should be we have a limited pie; how can we help you get us smaller classes with the resources we have, (without sacrificing things that are good?)"

The military budget for 2012 is over $1.4 trillion, over $430 billion of which is simply debt on past wars. Only a small fraction of this goes to soldier's wages, education, and veteran pensions.

The Government Accountability Office has been unable to provide an audit of federal spending since 2010, citing their primary obstacle as 'serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense that made its financial statements unauditable'. The GAO identified during its audit work an estimated $125.4 billion of 'improper payments'.

The problem is not a shortage of 'pie'. The problem is that the DOE has been spending almost a decade trying to work around the mismanagement of federal spending, trying to ration out their table scraps, when they should have shown solidarity with teachers and faculty long ago in presenting the necessity of fundamental change to the public. Our nation's teachers, parents, and children do not want dialogue or explanations- they want change, and they want help bringing about that change.

Anonymous said...

I will be attending a Parents as Partners event tonight, Oct 26th, at 525 W 50th St, the "Park West" campus.

According to the press release, "Chancellor Walcott will be joined at the Park West Campus in Manhattan by Executive Director of the Division of Family and Community Engagement Jesse Mojica, as well as families, members of the Chancellors Parental Advisory Council, and District Family Advocates. After introductory remarks from Executive Director Mojica, Chancellor Walcott will share his top family engagement priorities and exciting new ways that the Department of Education will partner with parents."

Would be nice to see some support there.....

Sweet Girl Tracie said...

To anonymous: who made this quote,

"I applaud Leonie and CSM for their great work but I am always interested in hearing both sides. That was a waste of my time. I am capable of making informed decisions."

This was the first time EVER that parents, educators and activists got up and were allowed to speak without being timed 2:00 by the puppet PEP panel. The people who spoke have NOT BEEN ABLE to use their words and speak freely on the issues that the DOE does not want them to make.

Once the puppet panel walked out of the auditorium to continue their 'parent involvement' meeting elsewhere, this clearly shows that the DOE bureaucrats do not care about the parents, teachers and students opinions.

They could have stayed to engage in dialogue and respond back but they chose not to.

Anonymous said...

Amazing night. Thank you to everyone who made it happen and who understood how powerful the peoples mic really is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Leonie for all the times you've put yourself out there and fought for my kids. The DOE is short-chaning our kids. I'm thinking of private school for my kids next year. I've gone to two open houses and wanted to cry. The quality of the work the children have done is so beautiful. The teachers are good - but truthfully, my children's teachers now are very good. But what a difference it makes teaching ten kids at a time. Yes, ten! The amount of instruction these kids get and the quality is so vastly different. Parents should be rioting in the street for small class size. Visit a private school and see what a difference small class size makes.

Anonymous said...

I was so inspired watching this! I will be sharing this on the west coast. Sad to say we share many common struggles with you -Solidarity from a San Francisco, CA. public school parent

ksprowal said...

As a parent participant of last night PEP meeting I found the exercised display of true Democracy AMAZING! Little Indigo the 8y/o student who spoke, her opinion was not only listened to, but also repeated by everyone. What it told her was SHE MATTERS! Her voice and opinions matter, they matter! Her voice is just as important as the chancellors or any board member. All of the “appointed” board members need to be replaced by "We The People" elected members. They don't represent us; the dictatorial DOE business model of our children’s education must end NOW. Parents understand your power, I witnessed it last night. We must take back our schools from the hands of "Corporate Americas 1%." Thank you Leonie and all the others who continue to fight tirelessly for ALL of our children.

Anonymous said...

What would happen if DOD were pared down o just a regulatory and certifying agency with a $1 billion budget and every year we give the remaining $19 billion to the local school districts?

Anonymous said...

Original poster here....

I am parent of several kids in public schools. I have no affiliation with the DOE or gov't, so I am not a "lackey."

Few, if any, go into educational administration to be lacks. The people who do so are overwhelming well-intentioned folk. They may be misguided, or wrong, but it is irrational to demonize them as so many here do.

I am not minimizing the good intentions of the folks here either. You'all are try the best you can. But if you have the energy and time to picket or shout at meetings, instead volunteer to tutor at the nearest public school. The admin may say no, but if you're willing to walk the walk, instead of just talk the talk, maybe the admin will pay attention. I would.

Anonymous said...

To Anon who said "This was the first time EVER that parents, educators and activists got up and were allowed to speak without being timed 2:00 by the puppet PEP panel. The people who spoke have NOT BEEN ABLE to use their words and speak freely on the issues that the DOE does not want them to make." I got the audiences point after 2:00 minutes. I am glad you are all congratulating yourselves, but for outsiders looking in and really interested in the issues and really, truly agree with you....you wasted my time! I really want to hear everyone speak. I don't want to just hear one side. I can get that watching cable news. People can get their point across in 2mins. I know it is a pain and not a perfect forum, but holy cow, I ran over after work and finding a baby sitter and you wasted my time! And now you congratulate yourselves for ruining a meeting. If the sole point was to interrupt the meeting, I guess it was a huge success.

Leonie Haimson said...

Anon: I wonder how you think you would ever had heard both sides. The DOE was going to do a dog and pony show and read a few questions from index cards. there was never going to be real dialogue at this meeting. And all the parents who wanted to hear from Coleman etc. could do so in the classrooms upstairs. Weren't you able to go? Did you learn anything there? Did you experience a real dialogue? If so, congrats! There has never been any at a PEP meeting, before.

Anonymous said...

"I am not minimizing the good intentions of the folks here either. You'all are try the best you can. But if you have the energy and time to picket or shout at meetings, instead volunteer to tutor at the nearest public school. The admin may say no, but if you're willing to walk the walk, instead of just talk the talk, maybe the admin will pay attention. I would."

Really, my experience over time has been that the admins do not want parents in the building other than school events or fundraisers. I have sat in meetings where parents have offered to help on a more meaningful level only to have nothing come of it. Our PTA is active but it is made clear that their role is to do fundraising and organize events only. I do not know why the schools have closed themselves off from parental involvement especially with all the budget cuts but it seems to be a top down decision. I live in one of the better districts where parents are more involved than average and all these poor policy/funding decisions are impacting us also. Parents are being asked to pick up the slack financially more and more. How long can a school continue to stay on track as one of the better schools in our system with 30+ kids per class, minimal staffing and no supplies? Like many others we are looking to leave the city now since we can't afford to go private here.

Anonymous said...

Please be aware that this education sysytem is went to the dogs by design, please go on the internet and get this pdf file by Charlotte Isebis right on point with what is called DELEBRATELY DUMIBING DOWN AMERICA this lady is right on point with this whole situation with the school system.
She is also on You Tube please chech her out you will have a better understanding of what is really happening.