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The Coalition for Public Education/Coalicion por la Educacion Publica (CPE-CEP) and the People’s Board of Education

Statement from the The Coalition for Public Education/Coalicion por la Educacion Publica:

The Coalition for Public Education/Coalicion por la Educacion Publica (CPE-CEP), on Thursday September 9, 2010, officially endorsed Parent and Community Control of our school system.  Please find below and attached the contents of the Two Paths Position Paper which was unanimously approved.

TWO PATHS-TIME TO MAKE THE CHOICE

There are two educational models before us:

On the one hand there is the model of the so-called stakeholders at the table.  At the head of the table is the billionaire Mayor.  Sitting at his right, his stooge Joel Klein (Chancellor of the Department of Education).  Sitting at his left, the mayoral members of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) loyally carrying out his every order.  Further down the table are Wall Street speculators bankrolling the private charter schools, aiming to make a killing at the expense of our children and using the public’s money.  To add insult to injury, these educational vampires, blood-suckers, are being hailed as philanthropists.  Along with these “stakeholders” are other similarly seeking to make big bucks from school privatization.  Then there are assorted politicians trying to further their career who have figured out which side their bread is buttered on.  Down toward the end of the table are leaders of the United Federation of Teachers, selling out not only the children but their own membership, making one concession after another to union-busting, not to mention their historic role in fighting the aspirations of communities and children of color.

This table of “stakeholders” are plunging the stakes they hold into the hearts of our children, into their capacity to learn, which is universal, into their psyches, already damaged by years of mis-education, tracking most of them for failure, especially children of color, and setting up ever more pipelines to prison.

Now, there are people, some with the best of intentions, who are fighting to squeeze parents into a corner of the table, that table of “stakeholders,” a table planted on a cesspool of racism and corruption.  But nothing can be done to make it smell good.

We reject that model. We want no part of that table and are determined to set up our own table.  At the head of our table will be the parents.  And since our schoolchildren are overwhelmingly children of color, the parents at the head of the table will overwhelmingly be parents of color.  Also at our table will be the students, who surely must have a say in their own education.  And at our table will be the community activists who have demonstrated a commitment to the education of the children of their communities.  At our table will be progressive educators who appreciate the need for parents to play the leading role in their children’s education, to whom parents can turn for technical advice.  At our table will be teachers committed to progressive unionism. And at our table will be school workers, from para-professionals to cafeteria workers, for we care about maintaining a humane environment for all—a learning atmosphere respectful to students and teachers alike, as well as decent working conditions for everyone in the schools.

In our model, these are the real stakeholders.  This table that we have described is nothing other than a People’s Board of Education.  And we of the Coalition for Public Education are committed to and are asking you to sign on to this truly democratic vision.

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