Saturday, January 7, 2012

Report from last night's hearing on the closing of Crane High School

Hearing on Chicago school closing. (M. Ritter)

I couldn't make it to the hearing at Malcolm X College last night. So I asked Martin Ritter to send Small Talk a report. Here it is. -- M.K.

Unreal event tonight.

Donald Fraynd was the MC and Jesse Ruiz of the Board was present. Around 200 rental protesters were bused in [by the mayor's people]. They didn't know why they were there but all said they got paid. Around 200 Crane supporters: community allies, students, alums, staff, etc. 

Crane Coalition prepared a Power Point presentation -- but were told we could not present it... so after the initial Board presentation 10-15 Crane presenters engaged in civil disobedience and stood at the mike, made a statement about presenting the power point and stood silent. This was extremely effective as our crew and even the rental protesters began to shout together: Show the power point!!! This went speaker after speaker for 20-30 minutes. Jesse Ruiz and CPS didn't know what to do. Finally they relented and let us show our stuff that refuted tons of CPS data. The place erupted as we began to win the hearts and minds of the bused in folks. CPS looked confused and worried.

It gets better: At that point the public officials walk in together. Sen. Annazette Collins, Alderman Burnett, Congressman Davis, Fmr Alderman Ed Smith, and Alderman Fioretti (wearing a Crane Varsity Letterman's
Jacket - the place goes nuts for this). They speak one by one stating their position supporting Crane staying open and opposed to phase out!

They tell CPS - listen to the people. Congressman Davis was more on the neutral side but he said his job was to listen to the people and he said the people were demanding Crane to stay open. The bussed in people are either silent or on our side. A good number of current and former students, parents and community reps speak.

After that person after person tell CPS - "Dont phase out Crane." 8 p.m.comes and CPS high tails it outta there. Round 1 victory.

Martin (Marty) L. Ritter


  1. Was JC Brizard there?

  2. The same thing happened at the meeting at King High School. The bused in folks never raised their signs and in fact, joined the chants or didn't want to be noticed. KOCO, parents who support their teachers, and the CTU shut it down for a while, and nothing was done to convince the crowd that closing schools was the answer.


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