Tonight was a victory for the Red Hook community, for parents, teachers, students and the brothers and sisters in the coalition to protect and preserve public education.
First, we have to thank the amazing supporters who showed up tonight: GEMers Sueng, Gloria, Lisa and Norm; your dedication to us and the cause is breathtaking and we are forever in your debt. Lisa, Khem, and Jim from various CECs: your support, endless work and effort, and sincere commitment to parents, children, and educators is inspiring and you have our fondest admiration. Professor David Bloomfield, who actually drafted some of the original charter school law and is in favor of charters, your comments tonight highlighted the injustice of these co-locations and the defiling of the law regarding charters you helped draft, thank you. To the UFT, your support has been generous and your advocacy and win regarding maintaining the charter school cap is noted and appreciated. Finally, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and Councilwoman Sara Gonzales, we thank your for your stated support of PS 15 and for advocating on our behalf. It takes strong and convicted leaders to stand up to this Administration; we can not overstate enough how thankful we are for your careful analysis of the facts and the conclusions you have drawn.
Together, we all, advocates for public education, placed a huge spotlight on the destructive policies of the BloomKlein Administration regarding charter schools, co-locations, and the faulty DOE formulas. We can reserve debates about charter schools in general for this moment, and all agree, that undermining successful public schools is a disturbing and disgusting policy, one the public does not support.
We heard tonight some voices who sought to blame PS 15 families and teachers for division. We heard a first year teacher defile the memory of Patrick F. Daly by stating, "we would all take a bullet for your child". We heard Spencer Robertson say CAPE is a waste of time. We heard Duffy claim, earlier in the afternoon, that PS 15 adults are treating PAVE children badly. We heard PAVE parents brag about their scholars and state of the art building. We heard Spencer's right hand man Cooper say, "All of our kids will go to college." These voices have every right to be heard, but garner none of our respect. These comments are divisive. These comments come from a desperate group of people hell bent on promoting charter schools at any cost; even if it means hiding behind voiceless children, lying to the community, and distorting concerned parent, teacher, and advocate voices. We can all take solace in knowing, our cause is just, our purpose is righteous, and our fight is only beginning.
We will not stop the fight to protect our school and schools across the city. We will not be deterred by attacks and smear campaigns. We will not be intimidated by smooth talking Orwellian language that seeks to incite fear and promotes false promises in our community and in our city.
Tonight, we stand victorious, in our deeds and actions. Tonight, we used our voices to demand justice for our children. Tonight our auditorium was filled with parents, teachers, and advocates weary after long days of work and child care (without subs, pizza and fancy t-shirts), united in a just cause; we can all rest easily knowing that in the fight for equity and fairness, the first battle was won. We clearly layed out a case, not against PAVE or even charter schools in general, but rather a case on the merits. We highlighted the negative impact this co-location and others like it have and made perfectly clear the DOE's faulty formulas and policies that rob Peter to pay Paul. Our children deserve more than that. Public education is worth more than that.
Whether or not the DOE chooses to hear our cries and concerns is another story, but numbers do not lie and plenty were provided tonight. In the coming days we will in fact see where their loyalties lie; with the public they were elected and appointed to serve, or with the private interests that seek to destroy public education.
We are so proud to be a part of a coaltion of dedicated people who have only one goal in sight: to protect and preserve true public education for ALL children.
Oh, what a feeling.