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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:42pm
Mon Jun 16, 2014

Education Activists Bring Dyett High School Fight To Alderman's Front Door (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

About a dozen Chicago education activists pitched a makeshift campsite outside of Ald. Will Burns' (4th) South Side office Monday morning in protest of the school district's plan to close Walter H. Dyett High School at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Back in 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout and close the Bronzeville neighborhood high school, located in Burns' 4th Ward, due to poor academic performance. Dyett is scheduled to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), are upset with Burns because the alderman does not support their specific proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a open-enrollment "global leadership and green technology" neighborhood high school.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:25pm
Mon Jun 9, 2014

Chicago Education Activists Target Ald. Burns Over Future Of Dyett High School (VIDEO)

Chicago education activists are ramping up their fight to save Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. 

At a news conference at City Hall on Monday, a coalition of parents, students and South Side community leaders blasted Chicago Ald. Will Burns (4th), whose ward includes Dyett, for not supporting their proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment, neighborhood high school. Toting signs reading "Stop disinvesting in black children," members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School called the alderman's lack of support for their community-driven, academic plan "disrespectful" to the families who live near Dyett and accused Burns of "ignoring" the needs of neighborhood children.  

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:16pm
Wed May 21, 2014

CTU Blasts CPS For 'Unfulfilled' Promises On School Closings

One year after the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 "underutilized" public schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) says the district has not delivered on various promises to invest in the designated "welcoming schools" that took in displaced students.

“Shuttering our schools was touted as a hard and difficult choice by the mayor and the board, but this was the easy, draconian choice,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement. “Parents, teachers, and the public demanded resources and supports for these education communities. Sadly, by making promises that remain unfulfilled, these schools and the students they serve have been dealt yet another blow — from failed policy to broken promises.”

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
3:35pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Logan Square Group Holds Vigil For Ames, Turns Spotlight On Kelvyn Park High

Hundreds of concerned parents and community members rallied at a vocal Logan Square meeting Tuesday night and then marched through the neighborhood with candles in hand to protest a recent Chicago Board of Education decision to turn Ames Middle School into a military academy. The protesters also voiced their uncertainty about the future of Kelvyn Park High School.

The Logan Square Neighborhood Association's 52nd Congress saw a discussion that covered a variety of important community issues, but chief among them was a strong feeling that Chicago Public School officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are not listening to the concerns of area residents. 

“There is a very clear reason the leadership at CPS is not responsive to the community, and that’s because they aren’t accountable to us’’ said State Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), who was elected two months ago due to, in part, his strong backing from Chicago teachers and his support of an elected school board. “The community is mourning the loss of Ames and needs assurance from all its leaders that there is a plan for Kelvyn Park.’’

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:50pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Report: School Closures, Charter Expansion Causing 'Catastrophic' Harm To U.S. Minority Communities

On the heels of the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which declared state-mandated public school segregation unconstitutional, dozens of grassroots organizations across the country say the push by education "reformers" to close and privatize schools is having a devastating and disproportionate impact on communities of color. Progress Illinois takes a look at a new report on the matter released by Journey for Justice Alliance, a national network of grassroots community groups.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:43pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Chicagoans Protest Against Youth Incarceration, Push For More Educational Investments (VIDEO)

Young people in Chicago spoke out against the "school-to-prison pipeline" Monday evening and demanded more investments in education as part of a national week of action against youth incarceration.

Toting signs reading "Educate, Don't Hate," a few hundred Chicago youths and their allies rallied outside the now-shuttered Paderewski Elementary Learning Academy in South Lawndale before marching more than two miles to the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) at 1100 S. Hamilton Ave.

Monday's action, co-sponsored by more than 30 local organizations such as Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and the Immigrant Youth Justice League, was meant to highlight the need for more public investment in schools, job training and youth programs, various health services and community-based alternatives to incarceration.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:27pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Coalition To Revitalize Bronzeville's Dyett High School Demands Meeting With Mayor, CPS CEO (UPDATED)

A broad coalition of Chicago educators, parents and South Side activists demanded Wednesday that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Mayor Rahm Emanuel meet with them on a community-driven proposal to keep Walter H. Dyett High School open and transition it into a "Global Leadership and Green Technology" neighborhood high school.

The Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School — which formally presented its academic plan for the South Side public school at April's Chicago Board of Education meeting — wants a meeting with the officials within the next two weeks. 

Back in 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout Dyett, located in the city's historic Bronzeville community, due to poor academic performance. Dyett is expected to close completely in 2015.

PI Original
by Anthony Burke Boylan
9:47am
Thu Apr 10, 2014

Chicago City Council's Progressive Reform Coalition Raising Funds To Be 'More Active & Efficient'

The Progressive Reform Coalition will have something of a coming out party Thursday night with a fundraiser designed to introduce itself to the public and raise money to be a more active and more efficient force in city politics. Progress Illinois takes a look at what the caucus is hoping to accomplish with the additional funds.

Quick Hit
by
4:48pm
Wed Mar 19, 2014

Guest Post: Lessons Learned In Primary 2014

The following guest post is from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis.

Incumbents seeking to erode retirement security in Chicago had better beware

Throughout this primary season, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has been a strong and vocal advocate for voters on the South and West Sides of Chicago—many of whom have been most impacted by the foolishness of education deformers and pension thieves. It is time to stand up to the predatory corporate and political interests that seek to threaten the economic security of thousands of workers. Incumbents seeking to steal our retirement security, beware.

The Chicago Teachers Union expressed people power this electoral cycle. We were most successful in creating a platform of educational justice and retirement security that was expressed by our endorsed candidates.  Representative-elect Will Guzzardi amplified our calls for an elected, representative school board, a moratorium on school closings and an end to charter proliferation.

With our continued support and his ability to turn the issues we’ve long championed into a successful political campaign, he was able to take down the Berrios machine and strike a blow to the top-down political tradition of the Northwest Side.

While the 26th District race remains contested, it is clear that voters on the South Side have soundly rejected State Rep. Christian “Crown” Mitchell’s anti-working families’ platform. This contest, more than any other this Primary season, exposes the racial and economic fault lines for 2015.

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