Sunday, December 05, 2010

Parents and Educators Hold RED Thursday Rally to Show Outrage Over Steiner's Approval of Waiver for Cathleen Black as NYC Schools Chancellor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           
December 2, 2010
Noah Gotbaum   917-658-3213
Mona Davids       917-340-8987
Lisa Donlan         917-848-5873
Chris Owens      718-514-4874

Parents and Educators Hold RED Thursday Rally to Show Outrage Over
Steiner's Approval of Waiver for Cathleen Black as NYC Schools Chancellor
The DENY WAIVER COALITION (DWC) gathered hundreds of parents, elected officials, educators, and community leaders to the steps of the Tweed Courthouse this afternoon -- the headquarters of the New York City Department of Education -- to denounce the appointment of Ms. Cathleen Black as Chancellor of the New York City public schools.  They came together to express their outrage, both moral and legal, over the decision of New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner to grant Ms. Black a waiver, despite her lack of qualifications for the position, and despite Mayor Bloomberg's failure to conduct a rigorous and transparent search. They demanded an experienced educator be appointed to the position, with a record of success in improving schools.
Their message was clear: Parents and educators oppose the appointment of Ms. Black, question the legal grounds upon which the waiver was granted, and will not be silent.  For eight long years, their children have endured the destructive education policies of the Bloomberg Administration, and the time has come for a parent and educator-led movement to fight for and protect the educational opportunities of New York City's 1.1 million public school children.
Elected officials who addressed the rally included New York State Senator Bill Perkins of Harlem, New York State Assembly member Inez Barron from Brooklyn, and City Councilmembers Robert Jackson (Washington Heights), Charles Barron (East New York, Brooklyn), and Jumaane Williams (East Flatbush / Flatbush, Brooklyn).  In addition to Mr. Owens and Assembly member Barron, other Brooklyn Democratic District Leaders in attendance included Jo Anne Simon from Brooklyn.

Said Julie Cavanagh, a special education teacher from Brooklyn and member of the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), "The recent actions regarding the Cathleen Black appointment are a thinly veiled attack on the teaching profession and on our public education system.  The forces who seek to corporatize and privatize our public education system must understand that parents and educators reject that vision, and we will no longer remain silent.  The overwhelming majority of parents and educators, the actual stakeholders in education, oppose this appointment.  It is time for educational policymakers to listen to the people they are charged with serving.  We stand united together in our efforts to bring democracy back to education in our great city and we will pursue every option available to us to protect our children and our public schools."
Mona Davids, a parent from the Bronx, a founding member of the DWC, and President of The New York Charter Parents Association, stated:  "The advisory panel convened by Commissioner Steiner unequivocally concluded that Cathie Black is unqualified to be Chancellor.  The Commissioner's backroom deal with Mayor Bloomberg to circumvent Education Law shows that Steiner put his career before 1.1 million public school students - district and charter.  This was a high stakes decision for him; unfortunately, Commissioner Steiner chose to placate our billionaire bully of a Mayor rather than the urgent need for our schools to be led by an experienced, quality educator."
Lisa Donlan, a parent from Manhattan, founding member of DWC, and President of Community Education Council District 1 (Manhattan), added:  "Would someone without a pilot's license be allowed to fly a large passenger plane, even if there was a co-pilot by his or her side?  No!  So why should the Mayor be allowed to put at risk the future of 1.1 million NYC children?  Are their lives - the lives of our children -- any less important?"
Chris Owens, Brooklyn parent, former Community School Board 13 member and President, and Democratic District Leader of the 52nd Assembly District and Member, said: "Mayor Bloomberg dismisses our outrage at Ms. Black's appointment as politics.  Mr. Mayor, maybe people who send their children to boarding schools surrender their right to be directly involved with their children's education, but we public school parents do not.  These are our children, not political footballs."
As Noah Gotbaum, President of the Community Education Council in District 3 in Manhattan: concluded: "Cathleen Black's appointment and waiver approval is yet another demonstration that our Mayor is completely out of touch; that Mayoral Control is out of Control.  We parents and educators are here today, red with anger, to make it clear that it is no longer all right for one man - by himself and accountable only to himself - to transform our public schools into yet another one of his businesses. Our kids are human beings to be wholly educated, not test-taking widgets; our public schools must be community learning centers, not franchises to be opened and closed at will; and parents and educators should be partners in that education, not competitors to be crushed." 
The DWC has retained noted civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel to explore legal options in challenging the commissioner's approval of a waiver for Ms. Black.  
 The DENY WAIVER COALITION and our allies:
        DECLARE, collectively and individually, that the Steiner waiver is an immoral, unethical and illegal action.
        REPRESENT a broad spectrum of New Yorkers who profess diverse opinions on matters pertaining to education policy and practice.  However, we are united in the conviction that the largest public education system in this nation deserves to be led by a true educator and that Ms. Black should decline her appointment and waiver. 
        DEMAND a comprehensive, rigorous and transparent search both within and outside of New York City to find the best possible Chancellor candidates. Such candidates must have proven track records as great educators and strong managers with a deep knowledge of urban public education, view our children as more than test-taking widgets and our public schools as worthy centers of community life in need of investment, and embrace our parents and teachers as vital partners in the successful education of ALL OF OUR CHILDREN.

        CALL UPON
 Mayor Bloomberg to stop using our children as political footballs and to act as a responsible municipal leader should.  These are our children and they represent New York City's future.

# # #
This email was sent to

No comments: