NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Hundreds of public school supporters cranked up the volume Thursday night, but it may not have been loud enough to get the message across.
Mothers and fathers, teenagers, and community leaders booed new Schools Chancellor Cathie Black. Her Department of Education’s school closings plan is facing mounting outrage as the clock counts down to a final vote.
The demands came fast and furious on Thursday night – that the Panel for Educational Policy keep their schools open.
“They’re closing schools,” teacher Tony Cohen said. “It’s as if they don’t care about anybody.”
The Department of Education said the schools slated for closure are failing, but some said there’s a reason for that failure.
“If you look at why the schools are closing, you see that they don’t have the resources they need to succeed,” Brooklyn resident Joy Simmons said.
The frustration was evident as opponents packed the auditorium with posters, blasting the closings – as well as the new schools chancellor the moment she took the stage.
The rowdiness was ratcheted up not long after that when nearly 10 minutes passed without a speaker being heard, thanks largely to a crowd that wouldn’t sit down.
Then, a large group of the audience, mostly teachers, began leaving.
“We’re saying we’re not going to participate in this fake process,” one teacher said.
“They already made their decision,” said another.
When order resumed, local lawmakers and students sounded off.
“If it takes a revolution in this city, we are going to take back our schools,” State Sen. Tony Avella said.
“If you close my school down, you’re closing down my life,” student Joshua Jordans said.
The schools being phased out will be replaced by smaller schools within the same buildings. The idea is that bigger schools aren’t necessarily better.
“Smaller is better, but not only smaller, but effective is better, and that’s the bottom line,” New York City Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott said. “We want effective schools in place for our children.”
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