Priests, Caskets, a Marching Band, & a Couple of Witches
On October 29, 2013 a funeral was held outside the New York City Panel for Educational Policy. See footage from the funeral here.
When Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor of New York City, the state granted him full control over the public school system. For twelve years he has ardently implemented corporate reform strategies, closing down schools, co-locating schools in one another’s buildings, and authorizing hundreds of charter schools. In October, as his term in office drew to a close, Bloomberg’s puppet Panel on Educational Policy, scheduled two meetings to vote on new co-locations and charter school openings to take effect after he leaves office. Outraged by his policies a coalition of groups protested by holding a funeral outside the PEP meeting for the schools he closed. Participating were the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) Caucus of the UFT, Change the Stakes, the Inwood Tigers Marching Band of IS 52, the Paul Robeson Freedom School.
Fathers Michael Sniffen and Chris Ballard of the Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn gave a nondenominational sermon. Those in attendance placed flowers atop the caskets. There was a procession led by the band, followed by pall bearers carrying the caskets, and the mourners. As the name of each of the closed 168 schools was read, the mourners intoned, “presente.” Following the funeral, most of the participants went into the PEP meeting to testify or protest.