The Chicago Public Schools hit the state's charter school commission with lawsuits Wednesday after the agency overruled the district's plan to shut down three underperforming charter schools.
In November, the district approved the closure of Amandla Charter High School in Englewood, Betty Shabazz - Barbara A. Sizemore Academy Elementary School in West Englewood and Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter Elementary School in Bronzeville due to underperformance.
Earlier this month, the Illinois State Charter School Commission ruled against the district's plan to close the charters, saying, in part, that the schools weren't given enough time to meet performance standards recently implemented by the district.
CPS CEO Forrest Claypool argues that the state agency made an "ill-informed and destructive decision to refuse to hold charter schools accountable no matter how poorly they serve our students."
"Charter schools make a basic promise: that they will give parents a high-quality option. If they don't deliver on that quality, they must be held accountable," he said at Wednesday's Chicago Board of Education meeting.
"Not only did the Illinois charter commission fail the children of Chicago by allowing these schools to continue to operate without holding them accountable, they grossly overstepped their authority," Claypool added.
Also at Wednesday's school board meeting, a Chicago-based coalition of educators, health professionals and organizations urged CPS to end to junk food marketing in schools.
Members of the coalition, which includes the Chicago Teachers Union and the Healthy Schools Campaign, among many others, rallied outside CPS' headquarters before providing public comment at the school board meeting.
The coalition wants CPS to strengthen its existing policies around school wellness and healthy snacks and beverages in an effort "to protect students from predatory junk food marketing."
The group is taking specific aim at McDonald's, in part, for its McTeacher's Nights fundraising events, during which educators stand behind the counter at a McDonald's for a period of time. In return, their schools receive a portion of the sales. Over the past two years, at least 49 McTeacher's Night events were held in the Chicago area, according to the coalition.
"McDonald's food and marketing is driving an epidemic of disease in our children," said CPS parent Tracey Dobson. "As a parent with kids in CPS I am calling on the Board to do the right thing and take action [against McDonald's marketing in our schools]."
Wednesday's school board meeting, meanwhile, was also held the same day the CTU's House of Delegates will vote on whether the union should go on a one-day strike April 1. CTU has called for a "Day of Action" on April 1 "to bring attention to the need for critical revenue solutions to stabilize the city's school district and protect students and their families."
CTU representatives plan to announce the results of Wednesday's vote during a press conference this evening.
UPDATE (6:51 p.m.): The Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates has voted in favor of the union staging a one-day walkout on April 1.