Feb 26, 2008
Expect a lot of outrage at tomorrow’s Board of Education meeting, with groups across the city organizing against proposals to close, consolidate, or “turn around” 19 schools that are on tomorrow’s agenda.
School supporters will speak at a press conference Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. at CPS, 125 S. Clark, backing a Chicago Teachers Unionproposal for a moratorium on the proposals in order to consider improvement models for regular neighborhood schools that don’t involve disruption for children and job loss for teachers. PURE and Designs for Change are coordinating the press conference.
Blocks Together and the Save Orr Schools Coalition is circulating a petition calling on board president Rufus Williams to oppose the “turnaround” plan for Orr — they say an Academy for Urban School Leadership takeover will fire teachers with masters degrees and replace them with inexperienced trainees who lack teacher certification, using a model the groups say is unproven.
They’re also asking Bill Gates, whose foundation is funding the move, “to honor the will of the community and make an investment with people versus for people by stopping the AUSL proposal.”
Like many community sources interviewed by Newstips in recent weeks, BT organizer Carolina Gaete characterized CPS hearings on the proposals as completely inadequate. “We are not satisfied with that being the only outlet for our opinion,” she said. While CPS chief Arne Duncan called the hearings a chance to “ask the hard questions,” in reality “the hearing officer had no answers for us,” Gaete said.
“They have been very disrespectful, imposing this decision with no outlet for us to even ask questions,” she said.
No board members attended any of the hearings, and PURE cites muckraker George Schmidt of Substance saying that, just two days before the board meeting, the hearing officers’ reports weren’t available. Hundreds of parents, students, and teachers spoke at those hearings.
Also calling for protests tomorrow, the Southwest Youth Collaborative charged “CPS ‘hearings’ are even more of a sham than previous years….Decisions are being made by Mayor Daley’s appointees as part of a larger political and economic agenda for the city that does not include the welfare of working class people of color,” the group said in an e-mail statement.
“The bottom line is that all this is being done without consultation or participation of schools and communities and against their demands and proposals.”