Rhody McCoy, unit administrator of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Demonstration School District in Brooklyn, said yesterday that his program had been sabotaged by Albert Shanker and the United Federation of Teachers.
"I don't want to use the word defeated," McCoy said, "but I will say this: Albert Shanker has participated in heaping as much degradation and humiliation on black people as is humanly possible. I think some day there will come a reckoning, and God help him on that day."
McCoy looked haggard as he addressed over 800 people in Lowell Lecture Hall. He wore an "Abolish Rotc" button on his lapel. He was pessimistic about the possibility of regaining community control in his school district.
"We are convinced that the Establishment and this Society are determined to prevent blacks and Puerto Ricans from controlling their own schools," he said.
McCoy said he was not surprised at the student demonstrations which have followed in the wake of the teacher strike settlement. "Once these kids realize the inferior education they're getting, they may well become revolutionaries. Their parents are already on that road," he said.
McCoy called Ocean Hill-Brownsville a corrupt district. "Many of the teachers we removed were unfit. We didn't want them because they didn't think our kids were capable of learning," he said.
"Our kids aren't uneducable," McCoy said, "they're the victims of uncommitted teachers and 'separate but equal' facilities." He said there are 9000 students and only eight schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville. "These children are two and one half years behind white students of comparable grade-level. Many of them still cannot read or write in the 7th grade," he said.
The heart of the problem, said McCoy, lies in whether the black community will be allowed to execute the right of community control over its schools--a right which belongs to every other community.
Bend, Break or Change
"We want accountable teachers and principals. If this means bending, breaking, or changing the law to get them, then we'll do just that," he said.
"Some of the students in Ocean Hill-Brownsville don't come to school because they don't have any clothes." McCoy said. "During the strike, our teachers went to these kids' homes and tutored them. That's the kind of responsibility and responsiveness we're looking for in our teachers."