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UFT Prez to Mayor: 'Stop Closing Down Public Schools'

January 24, 2013
Marc Bussanich

Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers, said at City Hall that the union has given up working with the Bloomberg administration. 

Mulgrew denounced the mayoral policy of closing 140 schools over 12 years and co-locating charter schools in public schools that exacerbates resource inequities. Mulgrew called, along with the New Yorkers for Great Public Schools coalition, for a moratorium on school closings.
Natasha Capers, whose children attend P.S./I.S. 298 in Brownsville, said that the administration’s policies have been divisive. 
“Over the past 12 years, the Mayor has failed our children, students and parents. He has cut out any input from parents and communities on how to improve co-locations,” said Capers.
City Comptroller John Liu said that an audit conducted by his office last year revealed that co-locations are based on incredibly faulty capacity and utilization data.
“Co-locations also create so much friction and tension within school buildings—between administrators, children, teachers and parents. They create great rifts within the community,” said Liu.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio displayed a letter he submitted to Mayor Michael Bloomberg to stop school closings. He noted how parents organized to save P.S. 114 in Rockaway Park after the Department of Education ruled to close it. As a result, his office presented a plan to DOE on how the agency could collaborate with parents to improve co-location outcomes, but the agency didn’t heed the proposal.
Bill Thompson, Democrat mayoral candidate, said he’s not opposed to charter schools, but is against bad educational policy. Council Member Charles Barron led chants against mayoral control of DOE and asked Thompson to join him, but Thompson abstained. (See video)