Monday, May 30, 2011

NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio Mobilizes Parents Citywide Against Teacher Layoffs


Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today mobilized over 100 parent volunteers at 30 locations across the city for the Public Advocate’s “Parent Day of Action” against teacher layoffs. Parents and organizers urged New Yorkers to record audio and videos testimonials which are being uploaded to in real time.

In just two hours on Thursday morning the Public Advocate’s parent volunteers and organizers collected over 1000 petition signatures and dozens of audio and video testimonials that have been posted online.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said, “Today, New York City parents hit the streets to take action against a budget that jeopardizes their children’s future. As a public school parent, I will not let us get shut out of the budget process, especially when Mayor’s Bloomberg’s proposed teacher layoffs would send class sizes through the roof.  

My office will continue to organize parents across New York until City Hall finally hears our voices.”

Councilmember Margaret Chin said, “The teacher layoffs threatened by Mayor Bloomberg are unacceptable. There are billions of dollars in the DOE budget this year for outside contracts, IT consultants, and even teacher recruitment. How can we legitimately threaten to lay off thousands of teachers while we are spending that kind of money hiring additional central staff, at the cost of increased class sizes? I applaud Public Advocate de Blasio and education advocates for their efforts today in highlighting the impact of these cuts. I and my colleagues in the City Council will be working hard with our Speaker, Christine Quinn, to push back on the Mayor’s proposed education cuts and to find alternative ways to fund the most important item in the DOE budget, our teachers.”

Councilmember Debi Rose said, “Laying-off teachers and cutting day care is unnecessary and wrong! There’s no way that we could lose 4,000 or more teachers and it not have a devastating impact on our youth and our communities. The future of our city depends on a well-educated work force. Less teachers in our schools means more students will be squeezed into classrooms that are already bulging at the seams. This will certainly have a negative effect on the quality of education in our schools. We must tell Mayor Bloomberg that we demand that our teachers and students come first in the budget-making decision.”

State Senator Shirley L. Huntley said, “Education is the key to success and can unlock unlimited doors of opportunity. Yet, to ensure our children attain a proper and sound education and can achieve success, we need teachers to help them along the way. Due to the regressive economic climate the New York City Department of Education is threatening to lay off 4,100 teachers. That is 4,100 less teachers that are children will have to educate them, 4,100 less teachers our children can go to for help and guidance, and 4,100 less teachers to make our schools tolerant, safe, and productive. Parents and community advocates all across the five boroughs must take a stand against any action that threatens our children’s education.”

State Senator Adriano Espaillat said, “We need our teachers in the classroom, not the unemployment line. New York's fiscal challenges should be addressed through common-sense progressive measures like the ‘millionaire's tax’ instead of teacher layoffs that place our children's education in jeopardy.”

Earlier this month, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio launched a series of online forums for parents where they can voice their objections to Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts and also submit written and video testimonials in support of their child’s teachers. The contains testimonials from parents in all five boroughs, including dozens of messages from parents recorded today. Video testimonials are designed to be viewed, embedded and distributed online.