Friday, July 16, 2010

Call Senators Schumer and Gillibrand now!

The US Senate is back in session, and is considering a bill that would save thousands of teacher jobs and prevent class size increases, by cutting $100 million for charter school expansion and $100 million from teacher merit pay.

PLEASE call your Senators today!

Thanks to the NEA, you can call toll-free at 1-866-608-6355. You will hear some talking points about the need to save teacher jobs, and then you will be connected to the United States Capitol Switchboard – just ask for Sen. Schumer or Gillibrand. Remember to call back to speak with the other Senator.

Message: As a public school parent, to prevent increases in class size, I urge you to vote for $10 billion to save teachers jobs, and to support cutting funds for charter schools and teacher merit pay.

Then ask them repeat the message back to you, to ensure they got it right. (Last time I called Schumer’s office, the person answering the phone garbled the message to make it appear that I supported more money for charter schools and teacher merit pay.)

After you’ve called, you can read the editorial from the Wall St. Journal, one of the most right wing editorial pages in the nation, which openly supports privatizing public education. It praises Obama for having threatened to veto any bill that threatens charter school expansion.

One thing is true about the editorial; NYC could economize and trim the bureaucracy without having to lay off as many teachers as planned. Bloomberg and Klein have added 10,000 out of classroom positions and cut more than 1600 general education teachers since they came into office, despite a legal requirement to reduce class size. The budget for charter schools will grow to more than $545 million this year alone.

Unfortunately, they have no plans to reverse this trend, and have projected a loss of 2,000 teaching positions next fall. With growing enrollment, this could prove disastrous in terms of NYC’s public school class sizes, which are already the largest in the state and some of the largest in the nation.

Call now, for the sake of your children, and thanks!

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