Teachers Unite Presents – Jan. 10, 2008

    THE BIG BUSINESS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION:
    How will we reclaim public schools from privatization?

    Thursday, January 10th, 5-7p.m.
    Location TBA

    Millions of dollars are exchanged between New York City’s Department of Education and private companies. How do these relationships impact our classrooms? What can be done about the seemingly inescapable trend of schools privatization?

    Speakers:
    Michael Fiorillo, Chapter Leader, Newcomers High School
    Leonie Hamison, Executive Director, Class Size Matters

    Discussion to follow.

    Please RSVP to sally@teachersunite.net

    This forum is the third in a series of events where educators can relate their experiences in schools to larger political trends. The 2007-2008 forums focus on the impact of privatization and the corporate model on classroom life in NYC public schools.

    Teachers Unite provides leadership opportunities that build ties between educators and community organizers, and political education forums that build an informed teacher constituency. Teachers Unite is an organization for educators who act in solidarity with the communities they serve.

    http://www.teachersunite.net

    NOTE: See comment #1 as George Schmidt attempts to answer some of Sean's questions.

    Sean Ahern raises the following thought-provoking questions:

    I had some questions for the Jan 10 forum.

    "How will we reclaim public schools from privatization?"

    1) What is meant by "privatization" in NYC public schools?

    2) Are public assets being sold or given away to private interests? Who's selling and who's buying? Are we talking about ownership or control? Who has lost what as a result of "privatization"?

    3) Is it in the interests of the majority of educators and parents to seek a restoration of the old system, with the professional educrats and the UFT leadership back in the catbird seat? If not then what are we seeking to reclaim?

    4) Most NYC public schools followed a factory model in the past. What are the differences and similarities between past and present models, between a public school and a privatized one? What do educators and parents and students want that neither past nor present systems provide?

    5) Where is privatization coming from? Federal, state, city governments? "A Nation at Risk", NCLB, Put Children First, the Chicago model? Private companies, foundations?

    6) Is Mayoral control a necessary component of "privatization"?

    7) Do we have testimony from teachers, parents, students, comparing the privatized school with the public school?

    8) Does this call to "reclaim public schools from privatization" seek to restore the past, in part or in whole?

    9) Who is the "we" that can "reclaim" public schools and who is this "we" reclaiming it for? Does this "we" include the UFT leadership and educrats and pundits who exerted considerable influence over the public schools before privatization became a "seemingly inescapable trend"? Why did that "we" fail to stop "privatization"? What reason is there to believe that this "we" can or should "reclaim" it from the privatizers or that rank and file teachers and parents should be party to any effort to restore the claim of this "we" to control of the public schools? If this "we" includes rank and file teachers and parents of color along with the UFT leadership and leaders and pundits of the educracy such as Diane Ravitch, what changes will be made to empower educators and parents in a new system?

    10) Are there any positive effects of privatization or Mayoral control from the standpoint of educators, parents and students that the latter might want to retain after public schools are "reclaimed".

    Peace,
    Sean

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Teachers Unite Presents – Jan. 10, 2008


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