NYCORE Statment of Support : Oct. 16

October 16, 2007

To the supporters of The New York Collective of Radical Educators
( NYCoRE) and education for social change,

In recent months there has been a great deal of debate and action
surrounding Ms. Debbie Almontaser and the new Khalil Gibran
International Academy (KGIA).

NYCoRE stands in support of Ms. Almontaser and KGIA. It is our
position that the remarks being made by the media, the leadership of
the UFT, the New York City Department of Education and Mayor Bloomberg
have undermined the establishment of Ms. Almontaser and this important
academic institution.

NYCoRE stands behind the idea that KGIA has been designed as a
democratic public school that brings Arab cultures and languages into
focus within a New York City school. KGIA does not devalue other
aspects of curricula or cultures. Rather, KGIA advocates the
importance of allowing Arab-students and students of other cultural
backgrounds to become active, culturally aware citizens in this
multicultural democracy. Ms. Almontaser’s remarks have been framed as
incendiary statements to further the erroneous position that KGIA was
designed to “indoctrinate” youth into Muslim extremism, as a writer in
the NY Sun argued when he said, “Arabic-language instruction is
inevitably laden with pan-Arabist and Islamist baggage.” We do
believe that KGIA serves as a site of peace, understanding, and
intellectual growth. The statements made by certain media outlets, the
Department of Education and the UFT leadership has generated obstacles
that will only further preclude the school’s potential success.

We are dismayed at how Ms. Almontaser’s reputation as an effective
leader and peacemaker has been subverted by this mis-information and
negative media criticism. We are disturbed by how little defense Ms.
Almontaser and KGIA has received from educational and municipal
leadership. This lack of action affirms the continued erosion of the
notion that schools and their leaders serve as essential elements to
the development of a democratic society in the United States. This
erosion inhibits the innovative efforts and visions of educators and
community members who are committed to create schools that uphold
these ideals. More specifically, this inaction has had a detrimental
impact on the opening of KGIA, the educators, the school leaders, and
most importantly the students, that may continue for years to come as
they struggle to clear their name.

NYCoRE is calling on all educators and community members of New
York City to continue to be voices in this struggle against
anti-Arab/anti-Islamic prejudice and support Muslim youth and the
education of all New York City students. We ask educators to urge
Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, the DOE, Randi Weingarten, the UFT,
and New York City, to reinstate Ms. Almontaser and to ensure the
development of the Khalil Gibran International Academy.

New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) is a group of public
school educators committed to fighting for social justice in our
school system and society at large, by organizing and mobilizing
teachers, developing curriculum, and working with community, parent,
and student organizations. We are educators who believe that education
is an integral part of social change and that we must work both inside
and outside the classroom because the struggle for justice does not
end when the school bell rings.


Edwin Mayorga
New York Collective of Radical Educators
www.nycore.org
info@nycore.org

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