The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is blasting the Board of Education over changes at the library at Daniel Hale Williams School, in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood. The school is located inside DuSable High School on the city's South Side and is slated to see reduced functionality. The librarian at the school was informed this week that her position was "closed."
"With the closure of the library on that campus, a resource that has been in continuous existence since the founding of this historic school, the mayor's hand-picked Board of Education has shut down the only functioning library staffed with a fully-certified librarian in a Bronzeville neighborhood high school," reads a release from CTU. "The Chicago Teachers Union is outraged by this action."
The union went on to note that there has been a purging of librarians at city schools in recent years, with predominantly African-American schools seeing the worst of it.
Chicago Public Schools district officials released a proposed list of school closings and consolidations Tuesday for the 2015-2016 school year as the teachers union prepares to take up a strike vote next week.
The debate over charters schools is heating up in Illinois. Advocates on both sides of the issue are speaking out about a five-year, $42 million federal grant Illinois won in September to support the creation of new public charter schools.
Progress Illinois recaps Wednesday's Chicago City Council meeting, during which aldermen reaffirmed Chicago's status as a "sanctuary city" and approved new drone regulations and a Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance.
Paul Vallas, the former head of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, says the city should have a "hybrid" school board with both voter-elected and mayor-appointed members.
He spoke Wednesday night at an elected school board forum hosted by state Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) at the Athenaeum Theatre on Chicago's North Side.
Other panelists at the discussion included Wendy Katten with the Raise Your Hand coalition and Eric "Rico" Gutstein, a professor in curriculum and instruction at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"I believe that you do need elected members of the school board," said Vallas, who was the CPS CEO from 1995 to 2001 and also ran schools in New Orleans, Philadelphia and Bridgeport, Connecticut. "I believe that you do need transparency."
Chicago Public Schools students rallied Friday evening at the Thompson Center, where they called on Gov. Bruce Rauner and state lawmakers to come to a budget solution in order to avert deep cuts and layoffs at CPS.