Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More PEP

Got back home around 11. They were still going at 12AM. More Thursday.
I got in right at the beginning and got to watch the HSA captains give out food and check their scripts. Most of the parents seem OK - not all though. Some I know from previous events - we know where we stand but can talk.

Meeting went right to the public comments without a chancellor report - keeping chattie cathie quiet. You have to use a telephoto and take a good look at her face during these meetings. Really a hostage tape.

I found an extra bag of HSA food and some GEMers and I broke into it and held up each item - I have video - no one wanted to eat HSA food.

I ran into my fave HSA PR person - Jenny Sedlis at the back of the room - even got a hug - shhhh! I can't decide whether to hire Jenny or David Cantor do be Ed Notes' PR person. I had nice chats with both at the Gotham party. Actually found some interesting common ground with Jenny. No matter how provocative I get she is always calm. I guess you get that way working for Eva. I shoulda married her - my wife has the exact opposite reaction when I get provocative - which she says is all the time.

Jenny was with a parent and left me with her and we got into a good discussion - she's a flight attendant who hopes to get into HSA - says her zoned school is too crowded and also claims one west side school is rigged to keep black people out. I told her I don't blame her for trying to do what's best for her kid but the end game is destruction of the public schools which in the long run will be bad for her and her children. Says she will home school if she doesn't get into HSA.

Got so side-tracked, almost missed a GEMer make a great speech - but got it for the archives.

A white west side parent who hungers for HSA spoke and said she wasn't sure if she will make the lottery and get into HSA- I told Leonie I bet she will - HSA will figure out how to get a white parent in. Wait till the day when most of Eva's schools are loaded with white middle and upper class kids- though it will be interesting to see how they react to the world of charters schooldom which is not exactly a progressive private school-type education even if they are trying to sell it that way,

The UFT? Well, they were there - seemed like a lot of staff and Unity people. They were loud though and it wasn't as uneven as you would think from the orange HSA tee-shirts, tough HSA also had a bunch of blue tee-shirts, as the UFT did.

The GEM/Real reformers led by Lisa Donlan and Jeremy Sawyer were awesome, as were the steppers from Robson.

'nuff for now.

Check Gotham's gavel to gavel coverage.

There are lots of comments. Here was mine:
Congrats to Anna for outlasting me. I left after taping Leonie’s speech. Lots of UFT officialdom there tonight - but they gave me a tee-shirt so they’re may pals - for tonight.
Anna is right on about the reactions of some HSA parents of color who had mixed feelings when students from closing schools spoke so passionately. A bit of Eva’s strategy backfiring? A look at the HSA overseers has hints of —I better not go there.
Lisa Donlan just didn’t sing - she said repeatedly “SHAME on the PEP for …. list the reasons.
It wasn’t only Lisa Donlan up there - she really doesn’t sing like a bird- it was a Jeremy, a teacher from Brooklyn wearing the red cape with the RR - Real Reform on the back who led the singing with about a dozen Real Reformer/GEM people standing behind him - they were joined by people in the audience and the gang made sure to give the UFT honchos copies of the song for Thursday so they can practice - they really weren’t following too well - see, we all can get along. Look for a real GEM/UFT songfest on Thursday.
Important to point out - every single west side politician and most Harlem politicians came out against HSA. The community board voted 40-0 against. Every singe PTA came out against HSA. So has the community spoken? But it will be ignored - which will lead to more civil disobedience as we saw at Tweed on Monday - see the video I made running at ed notes.
I was getting ready to tape Leonie after a break when she pointed out there was an altercation between Patrick Sullivan and another PEP member. I swung the camera around and just caught Patrick making a motion to adjourn the meeting due to the weather - there were 4 votes.
He did say something about being taunted by a mayoral PEPie.
Some people who are on our side and didn’t seem to know who Patrick was or his motives started agitating that he was trying to shut them down - not understanding the strategy- hold all the votes till Thursday when HSA won’t be organizing and the UFT will. At least how I interpret it.
Patrick scared me with that ice storm talk and I left since I had a long walk to my car. Picked up a bag of chips and a snickers for the ride home. Started the car and get a call - “Did you tape the fight?” Drat!

One more thing: Every PEP meeting it opens with a chancellor report - but not tonight. No words of wisdom from Unchattie Cathie. Boy is the muzzle on - Dennis Walcott was racing around the place to keep lids on when people got hot over having the mic turned off. Might as well make him chancellor.
 Anna got an HSA script and put it up at Gotham - I got this from a GEMer:
Literally a brainwashing script read to HSA families (who were bused, fed, clothed and god knows what else)... it makes your stomach turn!
Leonie made this speech addressing the phony choice issue - tape is being processed now:
Choice is not real choice if someone else’s child is being squeezed out into hallways, closets or basement rooms.  Choice is not real choice if someone else’s child is being forced into larger classes or you are closing their school, against their will.   Every time you close or co-locate a school you are creating more overcrowding and more disruption of someone else’s education.  Every time you close or co-locate a school, you are undermining choices for all parents and their children, and imposing your own will on a community.  Clearly the people whose lives are most affected oppose these proposed closing and co-locations.  I urge you to listen to their choices, and to vote against these proposals.

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