Saturday, December 4, 2010

Khem Irby, Brooklyn parent leader, at the Deny Waiver rally

I stand here today in the spirit of my female ancestors, such as Harriet Tubman, the mother of the Underground Railroad, Sojourner Truth, the mother of women’s rights, and Phoebe Hearst, the mother of the National Congress of Mothers, representing the Mothers’ Agenda of NY.

Most mothers are their child’s first instructor. We are very careful about who has our children’s ear. We are very careful about who is influencing our children and the direction that they are going. The Chancellor must be an accomplished and the lead instructor for New York City. The waiver as given was an abuse of power.

Unfortunately, the focus has only been around the $23 billion dollar budget that is attached to our children. Ms. Black can only be accountable for the money and not the children.

As a parent, I am requesting that Ms. Black, show the taxpayers the $23 billion. Show the parents of New York City how it will be redirected into their child’s classroom. Show us how you’re going to make the state and city comply with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court victory, to give our children their fair share to reduce class size.

Show the parents how you will bring equity to each and every school in the city, not just charter schools. Show us how you’re going to support our teachers and our administrators. Show us how you’re going to encourage the hedge funders to reinvest in our neighborhood schools. Show us how you’re going to eliminate no-bid contracts and put a cap on vendor services. Show the parents and teachers of New York City the money. Is she willing to work with the City Comptroller’s office?

The appointment of Cathie Black by Commissioner Steiner poses the question, who will be accountable and is it okay to break the law? In the case of the future of 1.1 million children, there is no more time to guess and experiment. The needs of the many children outweigh the qualifications of Cathie Black.

I say, Commissioner Steiner, you are now accountable. The Mothers’ Agenda of NY will be looking to you, as you have given the children of NYC to Cathie Black. Will this mean a boarding school type education reform will come to our schools? Will this mean two teachers in every classroom? What kind of professional support will Commissioner Steiner offer Ms. Black as well?

Lastly, I call upon the state legislators to seriously participate in restoring community control and supporting true democracy. They have allowed the Mayor too much power.

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