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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:32pm
Mon Oct 13, 2014

Chicagoans Push For Ward-Level Ballot Referendums On Elected School Board (VIDEO)

Although a citywide advisory referendum asking Chicagoans whether they support switching to an elected school board has been crowded off the ballot for a third time, education activists have a backup plan.

Parents, teachers and community groups are banding together to place a separate, non-binding question about an elected Chicago Board of Education on the February municipal ballot in each of the city's 50 wards. The coalition, which is unhappy with the policies endorsed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handpicked school board, officially launched their ward-level referendum drive on Monday.

"While the mayor makes his moves by squashing democracy and disrespecting parents, we will make our moves by knocking on doors and by giving the people [the ability] to do the one thing the mayor's afraid of. We are going to give people the chance to vote for an elected school board," Action Now's Executive Director Katelyn Johnson said at the referendum drive's kick off, held in front of Ronald E. McNair Elementary School in the city's Austin neighborhood. (Back in April, the Chicago Board of Education voted to "turnaround" McNair, which involves firing and replacing all school staffers, to improve its academic performance.)

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:03pm
Wed Sep 24, 2014

Chicago Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Stages Sit-In At Mayor's Office (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

More than 50 Chicago education activists escalated their fight late Tuesday afternoon to save Bronzeville's Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of this academic year.

Protesters chained themselves together and staged a sit-in outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office on the fifth floor of City Hall to demand equity for the 13 remaining seniors at Dyett.

The Chicago Board of Education voted to phase out Dyett in 2012 due to poor academic performance, and the school is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

The activists with the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), also urged the Emanuel administration to endorse their community-driven blueprint to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and offer global leadership and green technology classes at the school, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness. Community members have been developing the education plan for several years and formally presented it to the school district at the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting in April.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:39pm
Mon Aug 25, 2014

Education Activists Call On Emanuel To Keep Dyett Open, Demand More Input In School Reforms (VIDEO)

Education activists on Monday renewed their call to keep Bronzeville’s Walter H. Dyett High School open beyond 2015. The group also allege that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials are phoning Dyett’s few existing students and urging them to transfer because the school may be shuttered earlier than planned.

The demonstrators also called on the Emanuel administration to support more community involvement in CPS school reforms.

“When they get these schools, they get our communities,” said Jitu Brown, national director for the Journey for Justice Alliance.

The education activists, led by Brown and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), held a press conference Monday at City Hall and requested a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in the hopes he would intervene on the school’s closure and support turning Dyett into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment high school.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:55pm
Mon Aug 18, 2014

CPS Students Call For An Elected School Board, Adequate School Funding (VIDEO)

About 100 members of the Chicago Students Union and their allies marched in support of an elected school board and adequate neighborhood school funding during a downtown protest Monday afternoon. Progress Illinois was there for the demonstration.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:11am
Tue Jul 29, 2014

Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Takes Center Stage At 4th Ward Meeting (VIDEO)

Supporters of keeping Bronzeville's Walter H. Dyett High School open beyond 2015 by turning it into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment high school came out in force to discuss the proposal at a rowdy 4th Ward community meeting Monday evening.

Local Ald. Will Burns (4th) held the meeting to gather community feedback about the future of Dyett, which the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout back in 2012 due to poor academic performance. Dyett is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

A community-driven blueprint to offer a global leadership and green technology curriculum at Dyett, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness, dominated the discussion at the meeting, held at King College Prep High School. The academic plan, developed by community members and academics over several years, is backed by the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO).

"Whatever happens at Dyett, it's got to be a high-quality, open-enrollment high school, and so the whole point is to have a process by which we get ideas for what that should be," Burns told Progress Illinois at the meeting, attended by more than 100 people. "I know that KOCO and the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett is very organized and very vocal, but there are other voices in the community, and I want to make sure that they have a way to be heard."

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