With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Braving sub-zero temps to stop the charter invasion

At last night's vigil
A SmallTalk Salute goes out to the dozens of protesters who demonstrated their commitment last night by holding an all-night vigil and sleeping out in sub-zero temps, outside CPS headquarters. They, along with hundreds of others, will pack today's board meeting to try and stop Rahm's hand pick board's vote for further charter expansion.

Another goes out to Wisconsin high school social studies teacher Al Levie, one of three recipients of a Martin Luther King Jr. humanitarian award. During a celebration honoring the late civil rights leader, Al refused to accept the award from Rep. Paul Ryan, saying, “I can’t in good conscience accept this award, as a humanitarian, Paul Ryan stands for everything I don’t believe in.”

After Ryan spoke, Levie criticized the congressman’s policies before being walked off the stage. Levie had earlier stated that he would like to see collective bargaining restored in Wisconsin, fair immigration reform and a fair tax system among other suggestions.
“Paul Ryan had no business at a Martin Luther King event, it’s totally hypocritical. On the one hand he votes to slash health care, while on the other hand, King dedicated his life and he died for it — for people to have adequate healthcare, to have adequate jobs.”
And a third salute goes out to  Ald. Nick Sposato (36th), and members of the City Council's Progressive Caucus who led an attempt to delay the board vote last week, but had their efforts were derailed. Sposato called it, saying that CPS was playing "bull---- games" with its capacity figures, and pointed to how there are four CPS high schools already within a mile and a half of the proposed Noble site.  Community resistance has focused on a new Noble Charter high school set for 5357 W. Grand Ave., across the street from Prosser Career Academy.

An investigation by the parent group Raise Your Hand has discovered that 47% of CPS charter and contract schools have student populations below the CPS threshold for ideal enrollment. This equates to 50 schools with nearly 11,000 seats sitting empty. The analysis also reveals a decline in overall CPS enrollment of 3,000 students this academic year. Despite this drop, the Chicago Board of Education could approve as many as 31 new charters over the next two years.

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