A group of students in the Chicago Public Schools system held a protest this afternoon in downtown Chicago to rally against the school closings and related actions announced by the district last week. CPS students are on spring break this week.
The group of students, who call themselves the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, marched from CPS headquarters to City Hall to deliver a letter to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asking for a moratoirum on schools closings and an elected school board. The students say the school actions are "racist", likely to put more of the city's youth in danger and could incite gang violence. The letter was taken by staffer at the mayor's office, but they reportedly made no comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Board of Education is preparing for the massive rally the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has planned for Wednesday afternoon, according to the union.
"The BOE (Board of Education) security began erecting metal barricades around the building as thousands of people plan to rally this Wednesday in protest of CPS’ plan to shutter 50 schools and disrupt 50 others. Some have noted this is the largest school closing campaign in the history of the United States," according to a press release from the CTU.
"CPS officials and the mayor continue to spew confusing propaganda as justification for closing schools," the release continues. "School bureaucrats claim there is a $1 billion deficit while simultaneously promising incentives to 50 or more schools that will serve as receiving campuses for students displaced by school actions. Using the district’s own financial metrics, these incentives such as new air-conditioning, libraries, counselors and social workers will cost over $700 million. On Saturday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to confuse the public even further by stating school closures would somehow benefit students academically. While admitting the city has failed its fiduciary responsibly to provide all of its students with an adequate education, the mayor stopped short of acknowledging the huge racial implications of these closures."
As we noted earlier today, Emanuel made his first public statements about the CPS closure plan over the weekend, saying that the closings and restructuring would prevent the district from "trapping children in schools that are not succeeding.”