The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is blasting the Board of Education over changes at the library at Daniel Hale Williams School, in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood. The school is located inside DuSable High School on the city's South Side and is slated to see reduced functionality. The librarian at the school was informed this week that her position was "closed."
"With the closure of the library on that campus, a resource that has been in continuous existence since the founding of this historic school, the mayor's hand-picked Board of Education has shut down the only functioning library staffed with a fully-certified librarian in a Bronzeville neighborhood high school," reads a release from CTU. "The Chicago Teachers Union is outraged by this action."
The union went on to note that there has been a purging of librarians at city schools in recent years, with predominantly African-American schools seeing the worst of it.
According to CTU's figures, just 7 percent of high schools with at least a 90 percent African-American student body has a librarian, meaning two out of 28 schools; and of the 46 high schools with a predominantly back student population, only 15 percent have librarians. Thirty-two percent of all high schools in the district have a librarian on staff.
The numbers have fallen dramatically since the 2012-2013 school year when 61 percent of majority African-American schools had a librarian, while 63 percent of all CPS high schools had a librarian on hand.
"The district's refusal to stabilize their budgets with progressive revenue has led to annual cuts that have decimated our library programs, leading to librarian layoffs, librarians moving to other school districts, books of rooms without librarian staff, and in some cases, certified-librarians that have been shifted to teaching only the core English classes," reads CTU's release.
The labor union is calling on the community to push back against the loss of the librarian at the Bronzeville school, saying it is emblematic of larger changes that could come down the pipeline in the Chicago Public Schools system.
"We encourage parents, students and community members to demand that the Board restores the librarian at DHW so they can have a fully functioning library in their school," CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said. "This layoff is a taste of what is yet to come from a school district that closes schools, threatens to terminate 5,000 teachers and refuses to partner with the community to find real solutions to their budget problems."
In other CTU news, the labor union, which held a strike vote this week, plans to release the results on Monday. A practice vote conducted last month found that 97 percent of participants were in favor of authorizing a strike, if necessary. Check back with Progress Illinois for coverage of the strike vote's results.
Graphic: Courtesy of CTU