Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues with his plan to downsize public education in Chicago, while privately managed (mostly non-union) charters proliferate. Rahm recently told Charlie Rose that school reform was his highest priority as mayor.

Here is a statement from a Chicago organization created to fight the endless budget cuts:

Raise Your Hand Coalition:

Press Statement in Response to Layoff Announcement of 2,000 Teachers

July 19, 2013

“The Raise Your Hand Coalition (RYH) is disgusted to learn that Chicago Public schools has laid off another 2000 teachers and staff, bringing the total number of layoffs for the year to 3500. This news lies in stark contrast to the ongoing CPS rhetoric to minimize any impact of budget cuts on the classroom. Now CPS is claiming that there will be “winners and losers.” Even if a few schools have been spared from these widespread and severe cuts, we believe that there are only losers in this scenario.

“RYH started in 2010 to advocate for improved funding because for too long, our children have been subjected to inadequate staffing and basic programs and standards at Chicago Public schools. The situation has only worsened under Mayor Emanuel. After pushing through a “full school day,” our mayor has chosen to prioritize property tax spending on unnecessary and frivolous projects such as $55 million for a stadium for DePaul University, while CPS continues to receive drastic funding cuts that severely impact our children’s ability to thrive and learn. The Mayor’s decision not to use TIF money to offset some of these cuts is deeply disappointing and is forcing many parents to leave the city. Parents who don’t have the option to leave will be stuck sending their children to underfunded schools that lack the appropriate staffing and programs needed to provide a realistic “full school day.” This is a frightening day for the children of Chicago.”

Amy Smolensky