Sep 25, 2007

TAG Confronts Klein at PEP Meeting September 24th

A group of TAG members met at the Tweed Courthouse last night. We carried signs and held them up outside but were speedily directed to put them away. Just prior to the beginning of the PEP meeting (PEP is the Board of Education) we signed up to speak. The intention was to read our position paper and we did just that. We also read a statement from an excessed teacher who is languishing as an ATR. The Board (Klein) was asked how many ATRs there are in the schools. Klein replied he did not know but there would be a report issued containing the number. TAG demanded to know when this report would be issued. Klein testily replied "when it is issued". TAG then demanded to know why the Board (Klein) has no idea of the number of ATRs. Seems this would be a number he would have right at his fingertips being the businessman that he is. Klein looked sullenly ahead and made no response.
Mr. Polo Colon, now a member of TAG, asked Klein how many rubber rooms (RRs) there are and the number of teachers sitting in these RRs. Klein could not give the number. Mr. Colon then asked Klein if Klein last year had written that the RRs were meant to hold alleged criminals. Klein declined to answer. Colon stated that Klein's silence indicated an answer in the affirmative. After Colon spoke, Betsy Combier, a parent and teacher advocate, spoke and gave Klein and the Board "hell" about the RRs. She has been making a tour of them and speaks to many of the 'incarcerated', so she knows that teachers are being removed without charges being given, that teachers who pose no physical threat to students are being placed in the RRs (the U-rated teachers), and that the physical conditions of the RRS are deplorable.
What the PEP thought would be a very dull, quiet meeting proved just the opposite. Klein walked out (and the rest of the Board followed) even though a parent put his hand up and requested to speak.
TAG plans to be at the next PEP meeting.
A reporter for the UFT paper was there. Question: Will Randi get the message?