Calling the process a sham, some 2,000 parents, students and educators on Feb. 3 stormed out en masse from a meeting of the mayor’s Panel for Educational Policy before it voted to shutter 12 struggling New York City public schools.
Equipped with whistles and a foghorn, they also delayed the meeting’s start and at various points before their walkout brought the proceedings to a standstill, drowning out the panel chair’s calls for order with chants of “save our schools” and “Black must go.”
Met with tremendous applause and enthusiastic chants of “UFT” from the crowd, UFT President Michael Mulgrew in his testimony challenged the legitimacy of the school closure process.
“There cannot be a legitimate process for anything unless there is a plan for schools to succeed first,” Mulgrew declared. “All we see is a plan for failure. So as far as the UFT is concerned, this panel and this process are illegitimate.”
Mulgrew took aim at the DOE’s failure to support struggling schools, which union officials and educators claim have been intentionally starved of resources.
“Every school, no matter how they are performing, should be getting support from the Department of Education,” Mulgrew said. “If you cannot do that, then we do not need a Department of Education.”
Also speaking before the walkout, politician after politician took aim at the panel, the mayor and the DOE.
Brooklyn Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries said he could not decide whether to give the Department a “D for disaster” or an “F for failure.”
“Mayoral control is out of control,” he said. “It has not done justice for our students.”