Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Chicago: Sleep-out to save Anderson
From Tara Mack
On Saturday, May 30, from 11 am until 10 am on Sunday May 31, Hans Christian Andersen School is having a "Sleep-out". Andersen School is located at Honore & Division on the near north side, not far from Carpenter. They are in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood and have been told that "they are not a good fit for the neighborhood". The Board voted to phase them out a year ago February. At the time they mobilized 300 parents, teachers, students, and community members to protest but they won only minor concessions.
Mildred Rodriguez, chairperson of the Andersen LSC is the organizer, and she is putting this sleep out together to protest the accelerated phase-out of Andersen and phase-in of LaSalle Magnet II. The neighborhood school and neighborhood kids are being pushed out to make way for a middle-class "magnet" parent and student body. The school is fighting to stay alive even as the Board takes it apart grade by grade.
This sleep-out is being timed to coincide with the "Do Division Street Fair" which is taking place on Sat-Sun May 30-31. The festival describes West Division Street as "the hottest, hippest, most cutting edge neighborhood in Chicago" identifying the area as ideal for dismantling a neighborhood school and putting in a specialty school such as LaSalle II.
This school would like to have the support of CORE and all our allies. Andersen's example could be an encouraging action to all the schools that are under the gun. Please consider coming out to Andersen on Saturday-Sunday and spending a shift with them, including overnight. CORE could also help produce a leaflet that could be distributed to fest-goers describing what is happening to Andersen School.
I will continue to send updates as I receive them from the organizer at Andersen.