New Action condemns school closings/ calls for citywide response

Unprecedented NYC DOE attack on public schools in New York City

The New York City Department of Education announced over the last few days plans to close twenty schools, including large or CTE (vocational) high schools, including:  Norman Thomas, Alfred E Smith, Columbus, Maxwell, Paul Robeson, Beach Channel, and Jamaica. Of the others, nine are schools that Bloomberg and Klein themselves opened.

The UFT has for several years called for a moratorium on closing schools, unless and until the DOE demonstrated that the results of reorganizing and opening new schools worked, a result we do not think they can show.

Closing schools disrupt neighborhoods, disrupt families, disrupt teachers’ lives, disrupt students’ education. … Schools traditionally have been stable institutions in our neighborhoods, and in that sense, the multiple openings and closings can be devastating. And critically for us as teachers, closing schools forces senior teachers, long out of the job market, onto the Open Market, where they continue to face system-wide discrimination and the danger of becoming an ATR…

Most of the schools have decided they will fight the proposed closings. Last week there was a demonstration at Maxwell. There will be demonstrations at most of the others. Campaigns are being launched from the schools themselves. And the schools are turning to the central union for assistance in organizing their struggle.

But there is much we as a union and we as teachers in unaffected schools can do to help. Those in targeted schools have a tremendous amount of work, and need our help.

New Action members on the UFT Action Committee proposed several actions including:
•    A Day of Solidarity organized in each borough, with rallies at each school
•    Joining rallies at neighboring schools slated for closing
•    Wearing buttons or wearing black in support of closing schools

This fight must be seen in a larger context….
1.    the burden at schools which had not been closed was increased threefold, causing these schools to be subsequently closed. One school reported that their student population went from 800 to 2000.
2.    the growth of ATRs who were subsequently scapegoated. Make no mistake about this: the goal of Bloomberg and Klein is to reduce the workforce of veteran teachers,
3.    the move to replace public schools with charters.

We cannot allow this to happen!

(click here for the complete text of this leaflet)

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