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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
1:49pm
Thu Aug 22, 2013

Education Activists Call For CPS Boycott (VIDEO)

A group of Chicago education activists are hoping thousands of students take part in an August 28 boycott of a school system, they say, is acting as a destabilizing force in low-income communities of color.

Next Wednesday, the Chicago Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a proposed budget for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, which has proposed some $68 million in school budget cuts. Next Wednesday is also the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous speech calling for equality for African Americans. The March on Washington was one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history.

“Part of our democracy is speaking up when you are being dealt an injustice, part of our history in this country is being able to peacefully express your frustration when policies do not treat you right,” said Jitu Brown, an education organizer for the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO). “Young people will definitely get a lesson in representative democracy on this day.”

At a press conference on Thursday outside of the mayor’s office, Brown and approximately 50 education activists announced plans for the city-wide, one-day school boycott. The group also plans to stay away from the Chicago Board of Education meeting.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:40pm
Fri Aug 2, 2013

Parents Fire Back At CPS Over Budget Cuts At Riotous Public Hearing

A public hearing regarding the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) proposed $5.6 billion budget for next year quickly escalated into angry shouting just minutes into the district’s financial presentation.

The planned budget for the 2013-2014 school year includes some $68 million in classroom cuts, including teacher layoffs, in an effort to help close the district’s reported $1 billion budget hole.

CPS Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cawley told the crowd that the district’s budget deficit is being driven largely by an increased pension payment it must make now that its three-year pension vacation has ended.

But the more than 100 community members at Thursday night's meeting, held at Truman College, were irritated by that answer, saying CPS should be looking into other revenue streams before making deep cuts to schools.

“How about TIFs,” one audience member shouted at Cawley, referring to tax increment financing (TIF) funds.

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
2:48pm
Thu Aug 1, 2013

U.S. Rep. Rush Seeks Federal Funding To End Trauma Center Deserts

For Michael Dye, the death of his best friend is still raw. Dye wonders if his friend, 19 year-old Kevin Ambrose, would be alive today if Chicago’s South Side had a level-1 adult trauma center.

“We actually beat the ambulance to the hospital which was like a 30- to 45-minute ride at 11 p.m., which was surprising to me,” Dye said in detailing Ambrose's ambulance ride to Stroger Hospital after having been shot near the Green Line stop near 43rd Street in May.

Dye wondered why his friend wasn’t taken to either Provident Hospital or the University of Chicago (U of C) Medical Center. Instead, Ambrose, a Columbia College theatre student, was taken to Stroger, which is located nearly seven miles away from where he was shot — and is where he later died.

“It really hurts personally because Kevin’s chances of living would have been at a higher rate if he was taken to U of C or Provident or any other trauma center on the South Side, if we had one,” Dye, also 19, said.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
11:56am
Mon Jul 22, 2013

Should We Bring In The Illinois National Guard To Combat Chicago Violence?

Gov. Pat Quinn should call on the Illinois National Guard to fight the violence in Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods, according to State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago). But at least two Chicagoans who have lost loved ones to gun violence think military involvement is a bad idea.

“This violence needs to stop today,” said Davis in an interview with Progress Illinois. “The National Guard goes into communities based on the governor’s request, when there’s a natural disaster or civil unrest. It is my belief that we are suffering from civil unrest in this city.”

The city has logged nearly 230 homicides for the year, as of July 22, according to RedEye Chicago’s homicide tracker. More than 85 percent of the recorded murders were from gunshot wounds.

Quick Hit
by
1:36pm
Wed Jul 17, 2013

Op-Ed: Urban Agenda, 'Now Go Out and Make Me Do It' - Facade of Recovery Hides Broad Failures in Urban Areas

The following was written by Dick Simpson, former Chicago alderman and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

American cities and metropolitan regions are in crisis. Suburbs as well as inner cities.

At Operation PUSH’s International Convention on July 7th, scholars, pubic officials, civil rights leaders, and citizens met to hammer out a new urban and metropolitan agenda to meet this crisis. There has not been a national urban agenda since the Carter administration three decades ago. The Office of Urban Affairs that President Obama opened when he went to the White House has been impotent.

Consider the magnitude of our urban problems. 500 hospitals have closed in the last two decades while three out of four urban emergency rooms are at or over capacity. Our health is at stake.

Not only is Chicago closing 50 public schools but in 2010 public school districts across the country closed 1,929 schools. Charter and private schools are growing instead. Meanwhile, college student loan debts exceed $1 trillion; the average graduating student owes $27,000. Our education system is failing.

There are more African-American adult males in prison, jail, or on parole than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War. Prisons have been privatized and we have a now prison-industrial complex housing too many of our residents.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
7:12pm
Tue Jun 25, 2013

CPS Parents Host Candlelight Vigil For Closing East Humboldt Park Schools (VIDEO)

“We’re here today mourning the death of our school,” said Magdalene Thurmond, a mother of two Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students who attended their last day of classes at Ana Roque de Duprey Elementary School on Monday.

As students filed out of the building for the last time, Thurmond was one of roughly 20 parents and staff members who gathered for a candlelight vigil outside of the closing school.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:41pm
Mon Jun 17, 2013

West Side ‘Peace Corner’ Provides A Safe Haven For Youth (VIDEO)

The Peace Corner Youth Center on Chicago's West Side offers youth a safe and recreational space after school and during the summer. Just before a violent weekend of shootings across the city left eight people dead and more than 40 wounded, Progress Illinois attended the non-profit's open house to learn more about its violence-prevention programs.

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