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Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
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 Aaron Cynic
Wed Jan 22, 2014

Chicago Education Activists Brave The Cold In Overnight Vigil In Protest Of Charter School Expansion (UPDATED)

    Dozens of protesters braved single digit temperatures Tuesday night to hold an overnight vigil in opposition of charter school expansion in Chicago.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Nov 11, 2013

High Schoolers Critical Of New CPS Student Advisory Council, Say It's 'Just For Show'

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced the creation of a new Student Advisory Council last Friday. The initiative is meant to provide students the opportunity to discuss important issues with district officials.

Some Chicago student leaders called the new advisory council an important first step in opening the dialogue between students and CPS. But they also said the new advisory council is "just for show," because students wouldn't have a direct vote when it comes to deciding CPS policy.

"We do view this advisory committee as a good base step," said Ross Floyd, a junior at Jones College Prep and a Chicago Student Union (CSU) leader. "We think there's a lot of work to do, but it’s better than before. Before, there was no student voice. The more student voice in educational policy, the better that policy is going to be."

Floyd, however, went on to say that the new council seems like a "puppet show." CPS says a goal of the council is to empower students' voices in district policy decisions, but "in reality they're giving the students no power at all," he stressed.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed Oct 23, 2013

Report: CPS Plan For Charter School Expansion 'Deeply Flawed', Uses 'Misleading Data'

A group of Chicago parents, students and community members released a new report Tuesday arguing that the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) plan to open new charter schools to help relieve overcrowding is "deeply flawed."

Communities United for Quality Education (CUQE) and Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools (CSOSOS) jointly released the “Big Dollars, Little Sense" report, which says CPS is using "misleading data" to help make its case for possible charter school expansion.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Sep 30, 2013

Albany Park Residents Want Local Aldermen To Oppose Northwest Side Charter School Expansion

Albany Park students and parents who gathered for an education meeting late last week want their local aldermen to publicly oppose the Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) plan to expand charter schools on the Northwest Side.

The more than 50 residents at the meeting, held at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, said they plan to visit the offices of Northwest Side Alds. Deb Mell (33rd), Rey Colon (35th) and Margaret Laurino (39th) this week to urge them to sign a pledge to support neighborhood school investments and speak out against new charters in the area.

CPS issued a request for proposals (RFP) in mid-August for new charters in a number of "priority communities", primarily on the Northwest and Southwest Sides, as a means to help alleviate neighborhood school overcrowding. The charters are slated to open in the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. 

Those at the meeting said it's unacceptable that CPS released the RFP at a time when Albany Park neighborhood schools are grappling with more than $5 million in budget cuts.

"These budget cuts left us with huge high school fees, not enough teachers or books for our classes, and our neighborhood schools are struggling to give us [an] education we deserve, but still, the mayor wants to open new charter schools," said Jamie Adams, a Roosevelt High School sophomore and leader with Chicago Students Organizing to Save our Schools (CSOSS).

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu Aug 8, 2013

CPS Students Launch 'Union', Demand Voice In District's Decision-Making Process (VIDEO)

A group of students enrolled in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district are demanding a seat at the table when school officials make decisions that impact their educational environment.

At a kick-off meeting Wednesday night, a small group of students announced the formation of the Chicago Student Union (CSU). The group aims to unite students from various grassroots organizations across the city, such as Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools (CSOSOS) and Voices Of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE), to ensure students’ voices are heard during the school action decision-making process.

“We’ve all seen in our fights that we’ve been out-powered and out-spent by CPS. No matter how many marches we did, they still voted to close 50 schools and fired thousands of teachers,” said Ross Floyd, 16, a member of CSOSOS and co-founder of the CSU. “We have to come up with a new plan, and as any civil rights movement has shown us, when people come together they find strength in numbers.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed May 22, 2013

Board Of Ed Vote A 'Slap In The Face', Say CPS Parents (VIDEO)

Parents and students affected by the Chicago Public Schools closures, consolidations and turnarounds are heartbroken by the board of education's vote to shutter 50 schools and turnaround and consolidate a number of others. Progress Illinois spoke to some of the many people who were at CPS headquarters today for the highly-anticipated vote.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Thu May 16, 2013

Protesters Say Woodlawn School Actions Endanger Students, Hold "Die In" To Show Area Violence

In the Woodlawn neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, Cottage Grove Ave. serves as the dividing line between two violent gang territories, according to area residents.

And concerned community members say a Chicago Public Schools’ proposal to close John Fiske Elementary and send its students to Austin Sexton Elementary means students will be forced to to travel across the invisible barrier.

Cottage Grove, according to the proposal’s opponents, is a boundary not to be taken lightly.

“That’s a line you just don’t cross,” said Randy Pouncy, 22, a Sexton Elementary alumnus who said he’s been shot at too many times to count. “It’s so dangerous.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Mar 25, 2013

CPS High School Students Protest Impending School Actions (VIDEO)

On the first day of spring break, a group of approximately 20 high school students marched to City Hall to deliver a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel today, announcing their opposition to last week’s announcement from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that 54 schools will be closed and another six are slated for turnaround.

“All CPS students are victims of this bad policy, because CPS is not listening to student voices,” said Israel Munoz, a senior at Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago’s West Side neighborhood of Brighton Park. “Shutting down public education anywhere in the city makes victims of students everywhere in the city.”