All spring, local activists who oppose mayoral control have been urging people to contact their lawmakers. But after the mayoral control law expired and Bloomberg packed the new Board of Education with his appointees anyway, it became clear that a more powerful protest was needed, according to Jitu Weusi, a longtime activist from Brooklyn.
A protest being held at 5 p.m. today outside Tweed Courthouse, education department headquarters, will highlight widespread opposition to “the mayoral control dictatorship,” Weusi said. He told me that community activists from all five boroughs have signed onto the event.
City Councilman Charles Barron, who has called for Schools Chancellor Joel Klein to be fired, helped organize a planning meeting last week that about 40 people attended, Weusi said. Weusi spoke last fall at the first forum organized by the Parent Commission on School Governance, which has pushed for substantial changes to mayoral control, and the commission is co-sponsoring today’s protest.
Parent activist Ann Kjellberg, who attended the planning meeting, said today would mark a change from the recent past, when local activists stuck to their own communities. “I think everybody’s distress at what happened with the political process reached such a point that the protest became so loud that we heard each other,” she said.
Today’s protest will not be the last city officials will hear from the as-yet-unnamed coalition, Weusi said. “This is just like an announcement that we are serving notice that we are an official citywide body of discontent,” he said.