Happy Labor Day? Not for school aides, or our kids

Happy Labor Day and welcome back to a new school year.  I hope you had a good summer and rest.  Unfortunately, the DOE has not been honoring those who work in our schools.  Instead, they are planning to lay-off nearly 800 school aides and other school-based personnel; people who help our kids every day.
The day before school begins, on Wednesday, at 4 PM in front of Tweed, we are co-sponsoring a protest against the proposed lay-offs; for more on these layoffs, see Juan Gonzalez’ column here.
This year, we also expect to return to a much diminished teaching force; with more than 3000 or more teaching positions lost and/or teachers excessed, While enrollment is still increasing, this is likely lead to the highest class sizes in eleven years  in many grades.  (See how the DOE received an “F”  in the city’s performance reports, largely because of rising class sizes.) 
Meanwhile, DOE keeps adding hundreds of positions in an unprecedented expansion of the mid-level and central bureaucracy, spending tens of  millions of dollars for highly paid educrats called “achievement coaches” , “teacher effectiveness consultants”, “talent managers” and the like, none of whom will ever directly  help a single child.  They also plan to spend more than $36 million for new local assessments,  $12 million for new teacher evaluation systems, $10 million to expand the central “innovation office” and “innovation managers,” and millions more to expand online learning -- even as school budgets are cut for the fifth year in a row(For more details on all this new spending, see the DOE document here.)
One of the new achievement coaches was just appointed to that post after the Special Investigator found that as principal, she had  passed 30 students who had failed their courses; this is more evidence of DOE’s deep-rooted pathology, like the way they rewarded Verizon with a $120 million contract after the company was found complicit in fraud.
The entire way this department is  run is the antithesis of Children First – instead it should be renamed Educrats First. 
Please join us in protest against the layoffs and the systematic way DOE is disinvesting in schools and the classrooms -- and further bloating the bureaucracy:
Who:   Parents, teachers, labor and community leaders including Class Size Matters, NYC Parents Union, Local 372-DC 37, UFT, CEP, GEM, the Mothers' Agenda New York, NYCORE, Teachers Unite, ICE, NY Charter Parents Association and OurSchoolsNYC.org
When:  Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 4 PM
What:  Protest & Rally Against egregious School Staff Layoffs
Where:  New York City Department of Education, 52 Chambers Street
Bring your kids! They’re the ones being deprived of a quality education; they might as well get an education in politics and protest, if nothing else.
And on Thursday, please try to count the other students in your children’s classrooms, or ask your children do that for themselves, and report back to me what the situation is at leonie@att.net.
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