Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The real Civil Rights Movement

Heroics in OK

Hardest thing to watch was the news coming out of OK this morning.  Total devastation of two elementary schools with terrified children, some of whom died. What caught my attention were stories of teachers covering students with their own bodies. At least one gave up her own life doing so. Other acts of selfless humanism by regular people before and after the tornado, people who see and feel disaster for what it is -- not as "an opportunity."

Not news to most of us

Peabody students (Klonsky pic)
Bottom line -- CPS lied. Their friends at the Tribune put it more politely:
"In many cases, the district appears to have selectively highlighted data to stress shortcomings at schools to be closed, while not pointing out what was lacking at the receiving schools."
If mass school closings in Chicago's black community really represent "the civil rights movement of our time",  the real fight against the "status quo" as Rahm and Byrd-Bennett claim, why the cover-up? Why all the lies from the self-proclaimed civil rights leaders? The answer, coming through loud and clear from thousands who marched (for three days through the south and west sides), rallied yesterday at Daley Plaza, and shut down City Hall with civil disobedience arrests, was: "Rahm, Rahm, we're no fools. We won't let you close our schools!"

The people's choice for mayor in 2025, 9-year-old Asean Johnson, fires up the crowd yesterday at Daley Plaza. Now the question is, who's the people's choice to knock Rahm's gang out of office in 2015?. 

Tomorrow, the mayor's six remaining (since Pritzker's departure) hand-picked school board members will be told to vote for the school closings, knowing full well that they are complicit in a plot that has little to do with saving money or improving learning outcomes for our kids. They will vote, knowing how they are being used against the very community they are supposed to serve. Yes, in the face of the size and ferocity of the growing community resistance movement and criticism coming from the media, the black and Progressive Caucus in the City Council, and a panel of retired judges, they may retreat on a few schools. But most likely their practiced obedience to the mayor and the Civic Committee will hold true to form.

What then? A long, hot summer of protest, expensive legal battles leading to injunctions, and resistance by parents, students, the CTU and community-based groups. The real Civil Rights Movement will once again, make its voice heard as it did yesterday.

1 comment:

  1. "...they may retreat on a few schools."

    I'm betting they will retreat on a small handful of schools (no more than seven or eight tops) just to make it look like they really did their own thinking rather than the Mayor's bidding. In fact, I'm sure there were a couple of schools specifically put on the list with the intention that they would be retreated for exactly that reason. That will just show even more how much Rahm has been willing to compromise - after all, he wanted to close over 200 schools. And how much has the dreaded union been willing to compromise, huh? So who is it that's being unreasonable?

    Rahm may lack a soul, but he's no fool.



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