Friday, June 24, 2011

At Whittier School yesterday...

Supporters blocking the gate. (M. Klonsky pics)
After getting a call yesterday, that Mayor Emanuel was moving to arrest parents at Whittier School who've been defending La Casita, the site promised for a new school library, I hurried over there. What I found was a small group of supporters, who had also received calls, blocking the gate and asking the (de)construction crew and truck driver not to cross the line. About a dozen of Chicago's uniformed finest stood poised for action. Ironically, the mayor and his hand-picked school chief, J.C. Brizard, were a few blocks away at a community meeting run by charter school operator UNO.

Dump truck with police escort turned back.
As things turned out, the union guys agreed not to cross our line. The dumpster-bearing truck pulled out to the cheers of the crowd, the police dispersed and went back to fighting real crime as promised by new police Supt. McCarthy. Parents planned to continue their vigil over La Casita this morning at 5:30 a.m.

Chicago's finest poised for action.
The mayor seems determined to violate the agreement won by the Whittier parents, after last winter's occupation of the building.  The agreement was, to build a school library at La Casita. He now says he will create library space inside the school by displacing Whittier's special education program. The parents reject that plan and are threatening to continue the occupation along with support from community partners.

The struggle continues.


  1. I agree with the parents,and they should continue to fight to provide for the needs of all their children. It is imperative that children are exposed to a huge variety of reading materials, and sometimes their parents are unable to take their children to their neighborhood library. Thus all schools should expose students to a wide selection of books with updated library selections and technology. I don't think that is unreasonable.

  2. Mike, Would you please post on this?

    An Inconvenient Truth ... for Rahm and Brizard

    About ISAT scores — the preliminary ones have been out sicne early June. (You can get your child’s from your principal, in case you want to do any tutoring over the summer.)

    From the Trib’s charts, CPS teachers have increased ISAT scores about 10% since 2007 in both Reading and Math!

    In Reading, 69.6% of CPS students meet expectations and in Math 78.2% meet expectations.

    And in the past year, the increase in Reading is 4.3% and in math it is 3.1%, very significant contributions to the overall 10% increase since 2007.

    Those are significant jumps. I’d like to see what other big city can point to this kind of accomplishment. This proves that CPS teachers are doing a good job.

    Now, why do you suppose that the Trib and CPS would roll out this story on the slowest news day of the week — a Saturday????

    Could it be because these scores don’t fit Rahm’s story line?

    – that the schools are failing, and he’s here to fix them with charters? (Not if scores are up.)

    – that a lack of continuity at the top of CPS has undermined the public school system? (The CEO seems to have little effect on how schools run.)

    – that teachers are lazy, greedy and overpaid and don’t deserve their contracted raise? (Seems as though they work hard when adequately compensated.)

    Any way you look at them, the scores are very inconvenient for Rahm, especially if you compare them with the scores of the vast majority of Chicago charters, which are on 2- or 4-year academic probation.




Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.