Friday night in Chicago... More than 100 teachers, parents, and children speak out at hearing against closing of Paderewski Elementary School

More than 100 students, teachers, parents and community activists from one of Chicago's smallest public elementary schools turned out on Friday night, February 5, 2010, to tell the Chicago Board of Education and the Board's hearing officer that the Board should stop playing "data driven" games with their lives, their communities, and the lives of children and keep Paderewski open.

Ignace Paderewski fifth grade student Mikema Rich testifies before the Chicago Board of Education hearing on the proposal to close Paderewski on February 5, 2010. Many of the children who spoke out against the closing of their school can be seen in the background in the above photograph. The children of Paderewski are just the latest among the tens of thousands of African American children who have been displaced and in some cases destroyed by the ruthless policy of school closings that was begun by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley more than a decade ago and continued after 2004 under the name "Renaissance 2010." More than a dozen Paderewski students refuted the Board's claims that the school should be closed, and warned that gang violence in "K Town" where the children would be sent (to Mason school) would be severe. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Most of the speakers at the Friday night hearing were children from the Lawndale community who attend Paderewski (located at 2221 S. Lawndale). As usual, the majority of the people who showed up to protest against another planned school closing were minorities, mostly African Americans.

Part of the crowd of more than 100 teachers, students, parents and community leaders who showed up and testified on behalf of Paderewski Elementary School at the Friday night hearing on the proposed closing of the school on February 5, 2010. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The hearing was the latest on the 14 schools on what community leaders are calling the 2010 "Hit List" of schools to be closed this year. For the past decade, the Chicago Board of Education, under Mayor Richard M. Daley, has been closing public schools, most often to turn them over to semi-private operators as charter schools.

The following links will take the reader to some of the remarks made to the Board on Friday night. If the link is not hot, you can copy and paste it and get to it. Substance is still working to incorporate more technology into this site and these reports.

Schmidt and Civil Rights - Paderewski

Grandmother Shocked by Board of Ed - Paderewski

Back to Segregation - Paderewski

It's Like the South Again - Paderewski

Your Photos - Paderewski ES Consolidation/Closure 2/5/10

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