Candlelight Vigil, Other Protests Planned
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 12, 2011. Arbitrary school closings, turnarounds, consolidations, phase-outs and other drastic “school action” reform measures will not reduce the achievement gap among Chicago Public School students. Ignoring poverty, income disparities and racial inequities within the city’s school district only deepens the education divide. This is why the Chicago Teachers Union will engage in a series of direct action campaigns designed to educate the public about the hidden costs of CPS “school actions.”
- CTU will lead a spirited, candlelight vigil and sit-in at 6 p.m. Tuesday, December 13th in front of the Board of Education, 125 S. Clark. Scores of people, including parents, students, and civil rights community and economic justice activists are expected to attend.
- On Wednesday, December 14th, at 9:30 a.m., CTU, school leaders and community activists will conduct a news conference at 125 S. Clark before the regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting. Following the news conference, parents, educators and others will give testimonies to Board members about proposed “school actions.”
- On Thursday, December 22nd, a number of city-wide, non-violent actions will be held simultaneously to protest proposed “school actions.”
- In coming weeks, CTU will conduct briefings about the implications of school closings with members of the City Council.
“It is critical that we increase our capacity to fight against these misguided policies that only hurt our students and children,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “School closings, turnarounds, consolidations, and phase-outs simply do not work—and we have 15 years of evidence to support this. Shutting down one under-resourced school and sending its students to another under-resourced school makes absolutely no sense at all.”
CTU is a leading voice in the fight to save neighborhood schools from capricious and arbitrary “school actions” by the Board of Education. For the past several weeks, the Union has held a number of community education forums and parent organizing meetings in neighborhoods where schools are targeted for CPS “school actions.” On December 4th more than 500 people attended a teach-in at King College Prep High School.
Union leaders contend that the Board’s policies adversely impact African American students, who bear the brunt of these “school actions,” and ultimately cripple communities and perpetuate poverty and neighborhood violence. The majority of schools targeted by CPS this year for “school actions” have predominantly black student populations and teachers.
“Instead of fixing the structural problems within our system, CPS’ answer has been to blame the parents, blame the teachers and blame the students themselves,” Lewis said. “Our children deserve equal access to a high quality education in the neighborhoods in which they live. The Board must stop starving our schools of the resources they need and shutting them down when it’s politically and economically feasible to do so.”
The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools and, by extension, the students and families they serve. CTU, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is the third largest teachers local in the country and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information visit CTU’s website at www.ctunet.com.