On March 17, 2016, UFT Solidarity went to P.S. 89 to rally against principal Ralph Martinez. Although there had been publication regarding how Principal Martinez “improved” the overall grade of the school, there was little publication of the offenses that Principal Martinez continues to exercise against teachers and parents. This is where UFT Solidarity stepped in.
When it was announced that we were going to hold a rally to address Principal Ralph Martinez’s mismanagement of the school, I wanted to be involved to support fellow teachers and to show my commitment to UFT Solidarity. However, when I got involved I realized that what we were doing was so much bigger than supporting fellow teachers. Besides supporting teachers, the rally was about ensuring students were being given the education they deserve, ensuring that funds were being used appropriately, and keeping parents aware of laws and mandates relating to their child’s education. This was about a community. Solidarity Members were joined in the rally by parents at the school, who had witnessed firsthand, the top down approach wielded by Principal Ralph Martinez.
During the rally, I handed flyers out to parents as they entered the school. Just about every parent who went into the school took a flyer and a good number of them talked with me about the rally. They talked about their frustrations with the principal. They expressed that there was a disconnect between administration, teachers, and parents and they felt all conversations with administration were somewhat disingenuous. I realized at that moment that while UFT Solidarity was provided a voice for voiceless educators, we were also providing an outlet for parents who needed to have honest conversations with educators about their children, their child’s school, and its leadership. This reinforced my belief in UFT Solidarity being the only option to produce real change in the DOE and UFT. We were there to support and fight for silent voices on both sides of the equation. I enjoyed it and cannot wait to do it again. I urge any employee of the DOE who knows that misconduct is occurring, but and needs support to contact UFT Solidarity and allow us to provide a voice and take a stand against transgressions taking place at your school. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Nartey II – UFT Solidarity Executive Board High School Candidate
Bronx Haven High School UFT Chapter Leader
* It should be noted that UFT Bronx Office, UFT Unity, MORE Caucus and New Action were all invited to participate and help advertise. They did not respond nor partake. Bronx Educators for Justice however did and we thank them.
** It should also be noted that after the rally was advertised, Office of Special Investigations investigators finally reached out to parents about their allegations, despite being ignored. Superintendent Meisha Ross Porter also made visits to the school and classes were rearranged to be in compliance with state law. We await to see if Superintendent Meisha Ross Porter will make the necessary changes to improve the school culture.