Since Dr. William Hite announced the plan to turn Cooke Huey and Wister elementary schools over to charter operators, the parents, school staff and the impacted neighborhoods have been fighting back. At all schools parents have been meeting to decide what they want in their schools. At Huey elementary for two successive weeks community leader Pam Williams, along with students, parents and school staff, have rallied in the middle of 52nd St, vowing to fight the charter takeover. Hundreds of people have signed the PCAPS petition calling for no charter takeover and a democratic, open process to develop a community school.
Last night, prior to the SRC meeting, in spite of the rain, all three communities rallied to protest this plan and the exclusion of parent and community voices from the process. Wister parent leader Kenya Nation-Holmes, Cooke Home and School President Deborah Azure, First grade teacher from Huey Jennifer Ballard along with several student speakers made clear that they want a strong neighborhood public school driven by the needs of their communities. Parents United leaders Kendra Brooks, who led the fight to save Steel elementary from charter turnover, and Tonyia Coffer, parent leader at Fox Chase elementary spoke in support of the three school communities. Community member and labor leadear Antoine Little contrasted the resources children receive in affluent suburban communities with what children in the predominantly black and brown neighborhoods of our city get.
Later parents, teachers and community supporters testified at the SRC meeting with the same message.