Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chicago parents and community leaders take anti-closings fight to City Hall

From left, Jeanette Taylor-Smith, Pastor Joshua Ivery and Jitu Brown yell protest chants in front of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune)
South-side parents and community leaders were back at Chicago's City Hall yesterday asking to meet with the mayor and demanding an end to Emanuel's arbitrary school closings, turnarounds and privately-run charter schools. The say that if they don't get word within seven days of an appointment with the mayor, they will stage a sit-in until they secure one.
"We are requesting a moratorium on all school actions in Chicago based on what the research of our experiences tell us. Chicago Public Schools cannot continue to push policy that is harmful to the children,"  said Steven Guy, s the grandparent of a student from Fuller Elementary School. -- WBEZ
The protest comes five days after hundreds of parents, teachers and community activists occupied the Board of Education Meeting, leading to board members shutting down the mics and fleeing the room. 

In These Times writer Joel Handley, quotes community activist Jitu Brown:
To longtime education organizers like Jitu Brown of the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), the program is just another in a long line of failures. “Reconstitution, reorganization, charter schools–all these initiatives have failed miserably,” Brown says. “They’re window dressings. You have to address poverty before the problems of education.” -- The Poverty of School Reform
Writes Handley:
Brown and KOCO created a model for sustainable success with their Bronzeville Global Achievement Village. They asked parents to forget about budget constraints and imagine the type of education they want for their children. Months of cooperative labor birthed a program that would partner with Dyett High School and its neighborhood feeder schools to streamline curricula between grades and bring much-needed focus to laboratory sciences and leadership. But CPS has other plans. On November 30, it announced that Dyett, along with three other schools, would be closing next year.
Also see Chicago Tribune's coverage: "Uproar continues over plans for South Side schools" by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah

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