Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Occupy Movement: Reframing the school reform debate

Taking it to the DOE

The Occupy Movement in NY has refocused the whole school reform narrative and has transformed power relationships. Where only a few months ago Mayor Bloomberg and his hand-picked administrators were able to exercise control over "public" meetings, silencing opposition from teachers, parents and community members, and dominating the mainstream media, the new movement has changed things.

Yesterday, Occupy the DOE forces made their voices heard. NY1 reports [Video]:
 A couple hundred activists belonging to a group called "Occupy the DOE," including many teachers, spent Monday night on the steps of the Department of Education headquarters in Lower Manhattan to shout demands for improving the schools. Other DOE employees, public school students and their parents also took part in the protest.
This morning's  N.Y.Times quotes Occupy organizer Leia Petty who says the grass-roots group started as a grade-in last month in Zuccotti Park to address a growing list of issues with the Education Department that included overcrowded classrooms, teacher layoffs and school closings. Yet after the Oct. 25 meeting, it was clear that Occupy the DOE struck a chord with the public, and a nerve with the city’s top education officials.
"We want to create an agenda for the 99 percent, to strategize actions,” said Ms. Petty, 30, a high school guidance counselor from Bushwick, Brooklyn. “We came together today to realize that agenda.”
The Washington Post Business Section and Bloomberg News are also keeping a close watch on the Occupy Movement.

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