The Chicago Teachers Union is planning a mass protest rally on Wednesday. The schools closings in Chicago are the largest in American history. Never has any district closed so many schools at the same time. Only since the passage of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top has the public been told that school closings are “reform.” They are not. They are an abandonment of responsibility by those at the top.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin
March 25, 2013 312/329-6250
As Thousands Plan to Rally against School Closings downtown this Wednesday, the Board of Education erects barricades
CHICAGO—Apparently officials at the Board of Education (BOE) are getting the message: The parents, educators and clergy of more than 30,000 Chicago Public School (CPS) students do not want their schools closed.
Today, BOE security began erecting metal barricades around the building as thousands of people plan to rally this Wednesday in protest of CPS’ plan to shutter 50 schools and disrupt 50 others. Some have noted this is the largest school closing campaign in the history of the United States.
CPS officials and the mayor continue to spew confusing propaganda as justification for closing schools. School bureaucrats claim there is a $1 billion deficit while simultaneously promising incentives to 50 or more schools that will serve as receiving campuses for students displaced by school actions.
Using the district’s own financial metrics, these incentives such as new air-conditioning, libraries, counselors and social workers will cost over $700 million.
On Saturday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to confuse the public even further by stating school closures would somehow benefit students academically. While admitting the city has failed its fiduciary responsibly to provide all of its students with an adequate education, the mayor stopped short of acknowledging the huge racial implications of these closures.
Thousands of parents have accused the schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the mayor of lying about a pretend “underutilization crisis” in order to open more charter operations and privatize public education in the city. Most of the schools targeted for closure are in the African American community.
In the meantime, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will join with other labor organizations, parent groups, churches and community-based organization in a mass march and rally on Wednesday, March 27 at 4 p.m.
People will gather at Daley Plaza at rush hour before heading to City Hall and BOE headquarters at 121 S. LaSalle Street.
Participants will include CTU Local 1 President Karen Lewis, SEIU Local 1 President Tom Balanoff, Unite HERE Local 1 President Henry Tamarin, parents, clergy, students, rank-and-file teachers, paraprofessionals, school clinicians, lunchroom and custodial workers, community activists, and others.
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 http://www.ctunet.com