Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 9 of Dyett Hunger Strike

Michelle Gunderson, In These Times
I spent yesterday afternoon over at Dyett and got to meet some of the hunger strikers like UIC grad student Prudence Browne and parent activist Jeanett Taylor-Ramann. They're living on liquids (bring some fresh juice when you come) and desperately hoping for community support in order to save the last of their neighborhood schools. 

Prudence helped write the strikers' proposal to create a new small school with a strong curricular focus, the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology. The proposal is solid but the board is stonewalling it. It seems like the mayor and toady Ald. Burns are determined to go to any lengths, not to allow the activists their victory.

Progressive Caucus Ald. Rick Munoz shows up in support.
She was headed down to New Orleans to do research on the post-Katrina ed "reforms" for her dissertation, when she joined the strike. 

As for the amazing Ms. Taylor-Ramann, check out her interviews in Huffington and Catalyst. She has a great personal story of struggle and school/community activism. 

There's been good coverage of the Dyett hunger strike in independent and social media @FightForDyett, but hardly a word in the mainstream. Why not? It's a great story. An official blackout? I doubt it. Although I'm sure there's City Hall pressure being applied. Where are you great Sun-Times ed reporters? You can't all be on vacation.

Ah, there you are. Still not much. I thought I saw someone from the N.Y. Times. But...
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Yana Kunichoff has a written a good piece on the strike, now in its 9th day, in In These Times,

She writes:
The Dyett hunger strike is only the latest flare-up in a public school system in turmoil. Contract negotiations between CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union remain in a stalemate, and financial woes including some bad investment decisions (and the district’s unwillingness to renegotiate them) have left CPS begging for operating funds from a reluctant state government.
The demands of the CTU and the Dyett hunger strikers have important overlaps. In response to CPS calls for cuts in its pension contributions to teachers, the union has said that CPS is “broke on purpose.” Dyett hunger strikers also say they do not believe there is a lack of money for a neighborhood public school.
She's right. The closing of Dyett and 49 other neighborhood schools has not saved the school system any money and the longer Dyett sits empty and unused, the more it becomes a blight on this historic Bronzeville neighborhood. She's also right that the Dyett struggle is part of a much bigger battle, here in Chicago and nationally, to keep the PUBLIC in public education. 

I'm hoping that the Dyett hunger strikers get the kind of support they badly need on their Day of Solidarity.

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