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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:48pm
Tue Oct 14, 2014

Chicagoans Speak Out Against School Actions Cited In Federal Civil Rights Complaint

U.S. Department of Education officials heard first-hand stories about the impact public school closings and consolidations are having in Chicago at a South Side community meeting held Monday night with parents, students and their supporters.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is currently looking into a complaint filed by education activists alleging "racially discriminatory" school actions and closings in Chicago. Organizers with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School spearheaded the town hall meeting, held at First Unitarian Church of Chicago in Hyde Park. The discussion was designed to allow education department reps to hear directly from the people affected by the school actions cited in the complaint. The two education department officials were at the meeting strictly to listen.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:38pm
Thu Apr 10, 2014

Education Activists Call CPS Per-Student Funding Increase 'A Wash'; Fight Against Turnarounds Continues

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district announced Wednesday that it will increase funding for school budgets next year by $70 million. But education experts and activists stopped short of calling it a big boost for schools.

"It's really not an increase. It's less of a decrease," said Eric 'Rico' Gutstein, faculty associate with the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education.

CPS plans to reduce central office spending and use a one-time accounting adjustment so it can allocate the extra $70 million, which will be used to increase its base per-student funding amount by $250.

It looks like a good chunk of the extra per-pupil funds sent to schools would help to offset inflation and contractually-required pay bumps for teachers, CPS spokesman Joel Hood told the Chicago Sun-Times. Next year, the Chicago Teachers Union is owed a 2 percent teacher pay hike, which will reportedly come out to be no less than $50 million.

West Side education activist Dwayne Truss with the Raise Your Hand education coalition called the per-student funding increase "just a wash."

"You're not gaining much from last year other than being able to just hold on to what you already have," he said. 

Quick Hit
by Aaron Cynic
5:02pm
Mon Jan 20, 2014

Chicagoans Hold MLK Day Rally, Discuss Socioeconomic Issues & Legislation

    Thousands gathered Sunday at St. Michael the Archangel church on the city's South Side to celebrate and pay tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and also make a call for economic and racial equality. The two-hour-long rally saw dozens of speeches from community organizers, local politicians and others who tied Dr. King's legacy to today's struggles for economic justice.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:29pm
Thu Oct 17, 2013

Education Activists Slam Chicago Planning Commission For Advancing New Noble School Network Charter (VIDEO)

The Chicago Planning Commission approved the Noble Charter School Network's zoning request Thursday, paving the way for a new high school to be built across the street from Prosser Career Academy in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.

The proposal to develop the new charter school at 5357 W. Grand Ave., the current site of a shuttered lumberyard, now heads to the city council's zoning committee. The proposed high school would still need final approval from the school district.

Planning commission members, who are appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, approved the zoning change for the proposed ITW David Speer Academy charter school despite opposition from Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th) and Northwest Side residents who said the new school is a risky investment for the community and bad urban planning.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:30pm
Mon Aug 26, 2013

West Side CPS Welcoming School Sees ‘Smooth Transition’ On First Day Of Classes

Oscar DePriest Elementary School on Chicago’s West Side was bustling this morning as hundreds of returning and new students from recently-closed schools began their first day of classes. Progress Illinois was there to see how the morning went.

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