Friday, March 26, 2010


  On the heals of the nullification of the PEP vote which reversed the decision on school closings and the co-location of PAVE Academy within P.S. 15, a revised Educational Impact Statement was released today!  This document is available to view here.  In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, it is uncertain whether releasing a revised version of the EIS is proper procedure or even valid, but in classic DOE style it is posted on the internet and ready for views and public comments.  You will find some changes in this revised statement.  At the very least, some of the simple mathematical errors were corrected and at the very worst, this document proposes that PAVE Academy will stay housed in P.S. 15 until their building is "completed" (in quotes because no evidence exists that construction has even started).  If this EIS is in fact valid, the heinous proposal will be up for a vote AGAIN at the next PEP meeting in April.


"Null and Void!"--That is what a Manhattan Supreme Court Judge said today as she reversed a city decision  that was made at January's PEP meeting to close 19 schools and extend PAVE Academy's co-location within P.S. 15.   The ruling stated what we public school advocates already knew to be true: "...that education officials engaged in “significant violations” of state education law and failed to follow proper process..."Get the full story here!  This is a testament to the hundreds of students, parents, teachers and community leaders who attended the nine hour meeting January 26th and watched 8 members of the Panel for Educational Policy ignore all facts, reason and public outcry against school closings and co-locations.  This is the result of parents, students and teachers who have been tirelessly working together for months to advocate for their school communities.  THIS IS HUGE!  More information to come!!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Important GEM Meeting March 23rd!

Forum:  The Puerto Rico Teachers Union (FMPR*)
& NYC School Struggles

President Rafael Feliciano,
*Federacion de Maestros de Puerto Rico- FMPR
Grassroots Education Movement - GEM

March 23, Tues
4 - 7 PM
CUNY Grad Center
Rm 5414
34th St. & 5th Ave
#6 train to 33rd - Bring I.D.

In 2008, after a militant 10 day strike, the FMPR stopped the charter school privatization threat on the island-nation.  Despite the Puerto Rico laws against public worker strikes, the FMPR (80% women) continues to represent and fight back as a democratic bottom-up rank and file union.  Today the FMPR continues to resist privatization, charters invasions, violations of teacher & public worker rights, cutbacks and massive layoffs.  As more draconian cutbacks loom, the FMPR leads protests along with debates on how successfully build a united struggle nationwide.

In NYC, GEM has campaigned against the very same destructive federal government "No Child Left Behind/Race to the Top" policies that Puerto Rico also faces, despite different conditions. GEM addresses issues such as test-driven curricula, the displacement of seasoned veteran teachers (ATRs), school closing, private charters, dictatorial mayoral control, privatization and union-busting.

Over decades, the FMPR has worked to empower their members and school communities.  The FMPR supports school teacher-parent-student committees with significant input.  FMPR union chapters have autonomy and are supported when militant job actions are necessary.  The FMPR consistently seeks to educate and organize through general meetings, educationals, media campaigns, litigation, legislative initiatives, guerrilla theater, militant job actions and more.

The FMPR provides many lessons for our work here. We here also have much to share.  Join us in this important dialogue.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Upcoming Events:

  •  GEM and CAPE are having an important forum on CHARTER SCHOOLS! This is an unusual opportunity to learn about NYC public school communities experiences of charter take overs. Hear from parents and teachers about their struggles to defend their schools from unfair and unwanted "co-locations". Find out how people are defending themselves against privatization and how you can get involved in the struggle!
Impact of Charter Schools & School 
Closings on Public Education and 
What We Can Do About It 
Wednesday March 10th 
4:30 - 7:00 PM 
Bedford Library 
496 Franklin Ave – Brooklyn 
C Train to Franklin Ave. 

GEM - Grassroots Education Movement 
CAPE - Concerned Advocates for Public Education


  • You are invited to an Urban Forum March 11 entitled "Behind the Drive To Privatize -- Public Education: Where Racism and Class Intersect."

The forum will be faciliated by Ajamu Sankofa, Coordinator of the Urban Leadership Program of the Murphy Institute, and sponsored by Class Struggle Education Workers.

Speakers and themes:

Sean Ahern:              The Disappearing Black and Latino Educator

Antoine Bogard:        The Charter Invasion of  Harlem

Sandor John:             Struggles against Privatization from CUNY to  California,
                                               Mexico and Puerto Rico

Marjorie Stamberg    What's Marx got to do with it?
                                                      Privatization and the Capitalist System

I'd particularly like to invite local activists, parents, communitiy and union activists to raise issues from the floor so we can have a broad and lively discussion of these pressing issues.

Time and Place:
Thursday, March 11
CUNY Grad Center 5th Avenue and 34th St, Room 5409
Time:  4:30 to 7:00

The Department of Education Was Served!

An appeal, that is. On February 25th Lydia Bellahcene and John Battis, two P.S. 15 parents, joined with lawyers from Advocates for Children to file a petition to the State Commissioner of Education. They asked for a stay in regards to the extension of the co-location with PAVE Academy Charter School that was approved during the PEP vote January 26th.  This appeal details the actions of the DOE leading up to this vote and how they violated New York State Education Law, failing to follow procedural requirements in regards to significant changes in school utilization!  In short, the appeal stated that our Educational Impact Statement failed to describe any impact the co-location would have on P.S. students, and how the proposal passed by the Panel for Education policy on January 26th differed from the resolution published on the 27th, which extended PAVE Academy’s stay to an arbitrary timeframe.  It states that PAVE Academy may co-locate “until a new facility is finished”.  Debra Kurshan of the Office of Portfolio Planning submitted an affidavit within the required five day time period in response to the appeal admitting a discrepancy in the proposal thus resulting in a revised EIS and a re-vote at the April 20th PEP meeting.  Her affidavit is merely a response to our request for a stay, and we await the response to our full petition, which is due in 15 days!  Schools currently slated for closure or co-locations should examine their EIS carefully, check the state education laws and visit the State Education Department website for information on how to file an appeal to the State Commissioner.

June 4th City-Wide School-Community Based Protests: No School-Based Budget Cuts or School Layoffs

June 4th City-Wide School-Community Based Protests:  No School-Based Budget Cuts or School Layoffs
Parents, Students, and School Workers at PS 15 Demand Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein Prioritize Spending for Public Education!

Public Education in NYC has faced over 500 million in cuts since 2009. The Mayor must seek other revenues instead of cutting our schools and other important services that are the lifeblood of our communities!