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Cappleman: nothing to discuss

After weeks of ignoring an invitation to a community forum, Alderman James Cappleman has informed organizers he won’t be attending the event — which will be held outside his office, after Capplemn apparently pressured a local church to cancel.

The Organization of the Northeast and Lakeview Action Coalition are holding an accountability meeting at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 21 at the ward office at 4544 N. Broadway.

It was originally scheduled at the People’s Church, but Rev. Jean Darling said she “got pushback from the [church’s] board and from the alderman.”

She said she didn’t know what the meeting was about when she agreed to host it, and “I don’t like [the groups’] polarizing approach…I don’t care for the Alinsky stye.  We want to be about reconciliation and trying to work together.”

Cappleman has refused to meet with ONE since last summer, when the group objected after he held a “groundbreaking party” for a developer who planned to raise rents at the Lawrence House, an affordable highrise at Lawrence and Kenmore now in foreclosure, said housing organizer Mary Lynch-Dungy.  She said Cappleman had promised to work to keep Lawrence House affordable during his campaign.

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Championing neighborhood schools

It’s now ten years since the launch of Renaissance 2010, the CPS campaign that closed scores of neighborhood schools and poured resources into scores of new charters.

The result?  Virtually no improvement in academic performance, according to the Chicago Consortium on School Research.  Better-resourced charters performing at the same level as neighborhood schools.  Worse, CPS’s racial achievement gap has only gotten larger.

The response from new city and school leadership?  They say they want much, much more of the same:  many more closings, many more charters.

What’s the alternative?  Nine community organizations are proposing a Neighborhood Agenda for Schools at an event on Tuesday.  They argue that since the vast majority of CPS students attend neighborhood schools, that’s where available resources should be focused.

The endorsers include groups that have long histories of involvement with schools, including nationally-recognized parent involvement, teacher training, community schools, anti-violence and student mentoring work.  Their recommendations flow from their extensive experience.

The groups include Action Now, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Enlace Chicago, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Organization of the Northeast, Southwest Organizing Project, and Target Area Development Corporation.  The College of Education of NEIU has also signed on.

The agenda will be released at a public event with 60 community activists from across the city, Tuesday, November 22, 10:30 a.m., at LSNA, 2840 N. Milwaukee.



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