Southwest Side residents and education activists delivered over 500 community letters to Chicago Ald. Ed Burke's (14th) office on Wednesday as part of their campaign against new Noble charter school campuses proposed for the area. Local residents were also granted a meeting with Burke's assistant to discuss the charter school issue.
Twelve supporters of revitalizing Chicago's Dyett High School campus began a hunger strike Monday morning as they continue their call for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system to adopt a long-proposed community plan to turn Dyett into a "global leadership and green technology" high school.
The Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, which created the plan to re-open Dyett as a global leadership and green technology school, spearheaded the hunger strike. The 12 hunger strikers, including community and faith leaders, education activists and public school parents, held their protest outside the now-closed school, located in the Washington Park neighborhood at 555 E. 51st St.
"We are tired of our voices not being heard," said hunger striker Jitu Brown with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, one of many groups behind the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School. "There has to be accountability to the public for the destabilizing of schools in our community and the sabotage of our children's education."
Chicago parents have filed a complaint with the city's Inspector General over the decision by the Chicago Public Schools to postpone its public hearing on new school proposals for the Dyett High School campus.
Local residents and school and elected officials on Chicago's Southwest Side packed a town hall meeting at Thomas Kelly High School late Thursday morning to push back against a proposal to open two new charter high schools in the area.
The charter proposal comes at a time when neighborhood schools on the Southwest Side and across the city are facing another round of deep budget cuts as the school district grapples with large budget and pension problems.
Those at today's town hall meeting argued that the new Noble campuses could come at the expense of cash-starved traditional neighborhood schools and the programs they offer. If district-run neighborhood schools lose students to the new charters, for example, they would see less funding due to Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) per-pupil budgeting formula.
Back in 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phase out Dyett due to poor academic performance. The school, located in the Washington Park community, closed in June after its final senior class of just 13 students graduated.
For nearly two years, the coalition has been advocating for its community-driven plan to turn Dyett into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment high school. Members of the coalition, spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, were also on the frontlines protesting the initial decision to phase out Dyett.