The Right to Choose--Was "The Militant Joins Liberals in Denouncing..."

La Sainte pleau at prodigy.net
Mon Jul 15 15:49:42 MDT 2002


[ bounced last Tuesday, extraneous text snipped. Les]


----- Original Message -----
From: "bon moun" <sherrynstan at igc.org>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Tuesday, July 09, 2002 1:20 PM
Subject: Re: The Right to Choose--Was "The Militant Joins Liberals in Denouncing..."


> > There is a third option, one which working people and the poor can
> > rally around.
>
> Begging your pardon, but how exactly do you know what working/poor folks
> will "rally around?"
>
> And that is the demand that the parents can choose whatever
> school district
>

> As the parent of black children who are in public schools, I can
> tell you that this is one of the demands being made by Republicans
> in this state right now.  Because it amounts to de facto
> re-segregation.
>
> These proposals you are making indicate that you do not have kids in
> public schools.  Did you attend public schools?

The above message was sent by me, Cherie Pleau. The one below was a response
by Jose G. Perez.  Please let me respond to what I wrote.

I am basing my position of the right of parents to send their children to
whichever school district they choose *without* vouchers in part on the
events that led up to the creation of three experimental school districts
for community control in the City of New York (Ocean Hill-Brownsville
District in Brooklyn)  back in 1968. Just before then, a number of parents,
disgusted with the poor education opportunities in their district began
visiting other districts in a quest for a good place for their children to
learn. They were, of course, turned away every time. These parents became
angry, protesting against the city for not providing their children with the
education they deserved. More and more parents got involved, rightfully
accusing the powers that be of discrimination against the African-American
and Puerto Rican children in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville District. These
events ultimately forced the City of New York to set up the experiment. The
community was given control of curriculum, budget, and the hiring and
transferring of teachers and principals. Unfortunately, the United
Federation of Teachers took a poor position on the experiment, protested the
transfer of 13 teachers, 5 assistant principals and 1 principal by going out
on strike. That strike lasted for roughly two months. As a result, the
experiment was scrapped. However, there were a number of teachers who did
support the community and refused to honor what was a racist strike and
taught the children but not in the way they were required to before. They,
too, experimented, used new  teaching methods, did away with the
authoritarian approach to teaching and learning. Yes, the experiment did
fail but not because the community was not up to the task of providing the
groundwork for the best possible education available for their children.

When I proposed that one option would be that parents could fight for the
right to send their children to whatever school district they please
*without* vouchers, it could grow into something much more beyond that, much
like forcing real and viable concessions from the local and state
governments, such as experimental schools under the control of the parents,
the community.

To answer your last question, I was educated entirely in the public school
system, but we were very, very lucky in that my parents got us kids through
the back door into an excellent one.  I will always be grateful to them for
that.

Yours in struggle,

Cherie Pleau


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