Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Time is now: occupy the DOE! Join us on the steps of Tweed on Thursday, Nov. 17th!

Friends:  There is a total assault being conducted on our first amendment rights to assembly, speech and the press in NYC. If you doubt what I am saying, please watch this.

And then remind yourself of this, our First Amendment right: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
What happened this morning and today is  appalling. The city’s move to prevent people from peaceful assembly in protest of profound economic injustice is another instance of Bloomberg’s remarkable disdain for the human and constitutional rights that we – THE people – hold very dear.  In defending this right, NYC council member Ydanis Rodriguez was arrested, beaten up and is still in police custody as I write.  In response, we are organizing an uptown contingent of public school parents and concerned citizens to protest these events and all that gave rise to it on Thursday, November 17.
This Thursday though is not just about our basic freedoms; it is about how both the growing economic inequality that characterizes our country and what drives it are affecting our public school children – your children and my children.
We have a governor that, after slashing education funding, refuses to maintain an existing tax on the richest New Yorkers, and compares this position to a principled stand against the death penalty? This governor denied that last year’s cuts would hurt our children and yet we all know that they have; our children live it everyday.  Further the pain has been distributed inequitably; our poorest children are suffering the most.  (See this AQE report, which shows that state education aid to poor districts was cut two to three times as much per student as wealthy districts over the last two years.)
We have a PUBLIC education system that is being bent to the profit motives of PRIVATE corporations, under the guise of “accountability” through testing, testing and more testing.  I am pretty sure that Pearson does not have the best interests of my son at heart; on the other hand, after one of the best parent-teacher conferences at my child’s school, I’m pretty sure that most of our teachers do.  The new tests being created are an attempt to do what good teachers do all the time, assess the process of academic performance.  The costs associated with creating, administering and grading these new tests, to be done several times a year in ALL subjects including the arts, are going to be astronomical.  Why do we do this? Because "we" do not trust teachers.  How will we pay for this?  Cutting more teachers I am quite sure.  
In so doing, the corporate forces that run our schools will continue to turn them into test-prep academies, where teaching to the “new and improved test” will guarantee narrowed curricula in the arts and humanities, and the production of more (and mere) technical worker bees, incapable of original thought or dissent – just cogs in the corporate machine.  
Say NO to this corporatization of public education, please. 
Come and join us as we Occupythe DOE on Thursday. 
First we will be occupying education at 4:30 PM on the steps of Tweed (52 Chambers; north side of City Hall Park, behind City Hall, between Centre Street and Broadway, map here).  Then we will be marching across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Bring your children; bring your signs; bring your courage and conviction.
Thanks, Tory Frye, parent District 6

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