Stop  School  Closings  Everywhere!

 
 
School  closings  have  become  an  epidemic  across  the  United  States.    In  New  York  City  over  one  hundred  schools  have  been   closed  during  the  Bloomberg  administration,  with  this  year  another  26  schools  slated  for  closure.  Many  of  these  schools   have  suffered  through  weak  administrations,  charter  co-­‐locations,  budget  cuts,  and  a  lack  of  support  from  the  DOE.    It  is   time  that  all  students,  parents,  educators,  and  community  members  stand  together  and  fight  against  this  harmful  practice.       The  Movement  of  Rank  and  File  Educators  of  the  UFT  stands  in  solidarity  with  the  impacted  school  communities  and  seeks   to  offer  support  in  any  way  that  we  can.    The  best  way  to  fight  a  school  closure  is  to  organize  the  community,  and  speak  out   for  your  school.    Please  contact  us  if  you  are  interested  in  joining  the  fight  against  school  closures  everywhere.     • The  Mayor,  chancellor,  and  their  rubber-­‐stamp  Panel  for  Education  Policy,  show  complete  disregard  and  disdain   for  the  students,  teachers  and  communities  affected  by  this  policy,  inflicting  unconscionable  harm  on  them  and   ignoring  the  democratic  process.    Our  current  school  governance  law  mayoral  control  allows  Bloomberg  complete   unchecked  power  to  close  any  school  in  the  city.    This  law  must  be  repealed,  and  until  that  time  comes   communities  must  stand  together  to  oppose  these  unjust  closures.   • Many  of  the  school  closing  decisions  are  based  on  the  faulty  and  volatile  testing  data  in  the  school  progress   reports,  which  ignore  some  of  the  most  important  things  that  happen  in  schools.     Closing  neighborhood  schools  has  led  to  students  traveling  over  an  hour  each  way  to  get  to  school.    This  has   divided  communities  and  made  it  far  more  difficult  for  parents  to  get  involved.    School  closings  disproportionately   affect  students  of  color  and  poor  students.  The  majority  of  the  schools  slated  to  close  this  year  have  student   populations  that  are  near  100%  Black  and  Latino  and  85%  of  the  students  qualifying  for  free  or  reduced  lunch.   Many  of  the  schools  slated  to  phase  out  are  being  replaced  by  charter  schools.    Charters  choose  students  by   lottery.  They  serve  far  fewer  ELLs  and  children  with  special  needs,  and  counsel  out  students  they  believe  won't   perform.  Despite  this,  80%  of  charter  students  perform  the  same  or  worse  than  students  in  public  schools.       Schools  closings  lead  to  the  excessing  of  teachers  and  increase  the  ATR  pool,  where  veteran,  highly  qualified   teachers  are  often  reduced  to  working  as  substitutes  rather  than  having  full  time  positions  where  they  can  best   meet  the  needs  of  our  students.   The  Department  of  Education  should  be  working  to  properly  fund  and  support  all  schools.    Every  student  deserves   access  to  a  great  school  in  their  own  neighborhood,  and  it  is  time  that  the  DOE  stops  playing  the  “shell  game”  of   closing  schools  and  properly  funds  and  supports  every  school  in  the  city.   School  closings  have  been  successfully  thwarted  in  the  past  and  by  working  together  we  can  end  them  once  and   for  all. To  stop  the  Mayor,  however,  will  require  a  citywide  movement  on  a  scale  that  has  not  yet  been  seen,  unite   students,  parents  communities,  and  teachers  in  a  campaign  that  extends  beyond  the  sham  hearings  and  rubber   stamp  votes  at  the  PEP.  Just  relying  on  lawsuits  will  not  be  sufficient  to  end  the  city's  policy.  And  this  means   challenging  the  strategy  put  forward  by  the  UFT  leadership,  which  has  led  token  mobilization  but  not  organized  a   sustained  movement.     On  March  11  the  Panel  for  Educational  Policy  will  meet  at  Brooklyn  Technical  High  School  at  6  PM  to  vote  on   the  closure  of  all  26  schools.    They  will  also  vote  to  replace  and  collocate  many  of  the  schools  with  charters   schools.    It  is  important  that  there  is  a  very  strong  showing  of  support  for  the  schools.  
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MORE  –  Movement  of  Rank  and  File  Educators,  the  social  justice  caucus  of  The  United     Federation  of  Teachers     Our  working  conditions  are  our  students  learning  conditions.     morecaucusnyc.org           E-­‐mail:  more@morecaucus.org,    mrkearns.lehman@gmail.com  

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