Nearly 100 teachers, parents and students from a slew of Southern Brooklyn schools rallied on Wednesday, November 30, to decry the continued cuts to public education in New York City.
The rally was mostly comprised of teachers and students from Leon M. Goldstein High School in Manhattan Beach, but organizers said other schools were represented, including Grady High School, New Utrecht High School, John Dewey High School and Franklin D. Roosevelt High School – as well as local middle schools and elementary schools. Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, representing New York’s subway and bus workers, also sent a contingent, as did TWU Local 101, representing the city’s gas workers. They were joined by faculty and students from Kingsborough Community College, as well.
Though the protest was focused on education cuts, which have left many local schools without sufficient faculty, supplies or funding for extracurriculars, the marchers expressed frustration with the city and state’s habitual slashing of public infrastructure, including mass transportation, public hospitals and social services. The cuts are a stark contrast to the government’s treatment of the wealthy, most notably in how the state is willing to allow a millionaire’s tax to expire in the midst of such slashing, protesters told Sheepshead Bites.
Faculty, students and politicians rally to fight education cuts. In this photo: Kit Wainer, UFT Chapter Leader; Jessica Kallo, student; John Liu, NYC Comptroller; Principal Joseph Zaza (Source: Kit Wainer)
New York City Comptroller John Liu joined Leon M. Goldstein High School Principal Joseph Zaza, and 125 faculty members, parents and students last Monday to protest the ongoing budget slashes of the city’s public schools.
It was the latest in a series of rallies the school, located at 2001 Oriental Boulevard, has had over the past two years, since the city and state have sliced-and-diced from every nook and cranny of budgets. This rally came on the heels of the largest single-agency layoff since Mayor Bloomberg took office, in which 672 school aides, parent coordinators and family workers lost their jobs.
That meant more pain for our local schools, which are already suffering from staffing and programming cuts.
When we asked Victoria Sottile, Goldstein’s United Federation of Teachers Consultation Committee member, in a Q&A piece last year why a rally is important, she told us “the demonstration is important to raise awareness as to how seriously the budget cuts are affecting the quality of education we can provide to our students.” She told us about gaps in student schedules, the slashing of Advanced Placement programs and even basic science and math courses being eliminated because of staff shortages.