Occupy Education: Corporate School Reform Attracts Renewed Heat Common Dreams
As the official meeting began, each panelist was introduced. As each mayoral appointee said their name, Occupy DOE yelled, “Puppet!” Throughout the meeting, the protestors waved puppets to dramatize the nature of mayoral control.
The PEP was voting that night on a plan to open two new charter schools in Brooklyn, both with the Success network, run by Eva Moskowitz, a former city councilwoman with close ties to Bloomberg and his administration. Almost everyone on the Success board hails from the hedge fund or private equity industry. The idea that the one percent could open schools in Brooklyn neighborhoods, despite intense opposition from both the public and many of its local elected officials, has provoked fury.
...It’s not only in New York City that the Occupy spirit has invigorated education activists. In late November Occupy Rochester, along with parents and other community activists, disruptively mic checked a school board meeting to protest an undemocratic process for selecting a new school superintendent, a process that involved a corporate search firm. In Chicago, on the same day as the Queens PEP meeting, protesters shut down a school board meeting to protest recent failed reforms. Like New York, Chicago has been shutting down failing schools and replacing them with new ones, often charter schools. As in New York, many of the new schools perform even worse than the old ones. Parents and teachers mic checked the meeting, yelling, “You have failed Chicago’s children…These are our children, not corporate products!” Two days later, protesters occupied the lobby of New Jersey’s Department of Education, protesting Governor Chris Christie’s efforts to open more charter schools in the state.