July 8, 2009

Barron and the art of protest

For more on this demonstration, see the David Mark Greaves report "Parents Demand Voice in Education System."

If you were lucky enough to attend the rally at Tweed two days ago against BloomKlein malfeasance and thuggery, you would have been reminded of something we don't always see these days. People power.

About half an hour into event, Councilman Charles Barron led the crowd right up the steps to take the place back. Of course he stopped at the doors, and of course we all wished he'd barge right on in. Not this time, but we're getting there.

The sunsetted Department of Education did a miserable job of serving the people in spite of Bloomberg's cash-flow hype, and most know in their bones that the new so-called Board of Education is illegal.

It's clear there's no shortage of great speakers at any of the rallies these days. Some of the parents, teachers, and council people who've taken the mic have really been able to put our profound disgust into spine-tingling speech. [For more on our profound disgust, read Polo Colon here.]

Too bad, of course, that NONE of these speakers are Weingarten's people, and that's a fact. The staff she sends out to monitor these events all hover around the back edges in their Sunday best looking fairly muzzled — when they're not hob-nobbing with Tweedies, that is.

Thanks to NYCteachers.com, there's a video of part of the protest.

And here's a transcription of the text, because honestly, it's time we learn to start sounding like this to everyone who'll listen. So, practice up.
There’s no way on God’s earth can you get into the 21st century if you’re not teaching science,
if you’re not teaching computers, [someone yelled out History],
if you’re not teaching about the green economy,
if you’re not teaching about economics,
if you’re not teaching about leadership,
if you’re not teaching about the culture and the rich history of the African community,
if you’re not talking about the Latino community and their rich culture and their rich history.

So, we gotta say: We want a culturally relevant curriculum.
We want a curriculum— not some businessmen getting in a room and saying one-size curriculum fits all.

We say: You failed us, Mayor. You failed us, Chancellor.
And we come to make citizens’ arrests, because they are illegally ... illegally ... occupying this building.

Finally, on this day, on this day ...

We the People ... [WE THE PEOPLE] ...
declare ... [DECLARE] ...
this Board of Education ... [THIS BOARD OF EDUCATION] ...
now belongs to the people ... [NOW BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE] ...
now belongs to the parents ... [NOW BELONGS TO THE PARENTS] ...
now belongs to the children ... [NOW BELONGS TO THE CHILDREN] ...
now belongs to the teachers that want to teach ... [NOW BELONGS TO THE TEACHERS THAT WANT TO TEACH] ...
And we support student unions.

So that’s the declaration we make here today.

This struggle will continue.
They’re not going to take our education system from us. We’re taking it back.

We will be back again, and again, and again
until they are gone.

Thank you very much.
Thank YOU, Councilman Barron. The pleasure hearing you speak was all ours.

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