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Charge plan to give Phillips HS building to AUSL... Mollison Elementary School mobilizing against plans to continue destroying public schools in the face of corporate

Parents, teachers, students, and community leaders from the Mollison School community announced on February 6 that they were mobilizing against the proposed combination of Mollison and "Wells Prep" schools. One of the most important aspects of this CPS hearing is the fact that the school slated for closing is openly challenging the plan by CPS to give away the entire historical Phillips High School building to the controversial "Academy for Urban School Leadership" (AUSL) under the guise of helping the students in the community south of Chicago's Loop and north of the University of Chicago and the Hyde Park community.

As late as the August 12, 2006. Bud Billiken parade (above), then U.S. Senator Barack Obama was telling people one thing and doing another on school closings. As Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley escalated "Renaissance 2010" against schools on Chicago's South Side, Obama, first in the Illinois Senate and then in the U.S. Senate, provided support for Daley's closing of black schools on Chicago's South Side. The schools hit hardest were those within a mile of the Bud Bulliken parade route. By 2008, Obama was providing infomercials for the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) in his campaign stump speeches, including the speech he gave to the July 2008 convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Since his election President of the United States, Obama has expanded Chicago's school closing (and AUSL-style "turnaround") to the entire USA. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The following is the text of a Press Release issued on February 6, 2010.

PRESS RELEASE, For immediate release. Saturday, February 6, 2010, CONTACTS: Laura Meili, Mollison Teacher @ (248) 802-2478, April Stogner, Mollison Parent @ (773) 301-9616, Andrea Lee, Grand Boulevard Federation @ (773) 548-8140 OR (773) 318-0814

Mollison School Fighting CPS’ Half-Truth with the Real Truth: It is NOT Chronically Under-Performing; They are a victim

The Mollison school community is encouraging all parents, educators, and community members to attend their school hearing on February 8, 2010 from 8-10 PM. They are also inviting the media to participate in this hearing so they may be enlightened on the truths as to why CPS is proposing to consolidate Wells Prep into Mollison, and strip them of their staff and teachers.

During the fights against the cuts and 2006 round of school closings, members of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 73 (above, at the August 12, 2006 Bud Billiken parade with Phillips High School in the background) were the best organized and most militant in opposition to Arne Duncan and Chicago's closings and cuts. Following the contract deal Local 73 cut with Mayor Daley's negotiators in August 2007, the union stopped all protests against CPS closings. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Mollison Consolidation Hearing, Monday, February 8, 2010 from 8-10 PM, Chicago Public Schools Central Office, 125 S. Clark, 5th Floor Board Chambers. Registration to speak is between 7 – 9 PM.

Arrive at Mollison by 5:30 PM for a 6:00 PM departure to the hearing.

CPS announced that it will consolidate Irvin C. Mollison School due to chronic underperformance. The truth is CPS’ proposed consolidation does not require Mollison to close and consolidate as it appears in CPS’ announcement. CPS’ attempt to circumvent the truth to the public actually entails a closing and consolidation of Wells Prep school where the students, administration, and staff are to be relocated to Mollison, and will replace the Mollison staff and administration due to so-called chronic underperformance. However, the Mollison staff, parents, and community are sharing the truth about Mollison students learning and progressing.

“The truth is, since 2003, Mollison has made significant 20% gains on our ISAT tests, and we are now at 54%,” says Mollison teacher, Laura Meili. Garret Jones, another Mollison teacher who has been working with the school on charting their progress states that “Mollison outscored the Area 13 averages on the ISAT for 3 of the last 5 years. During the other two years, Mollison was within four points of the area and our scores still increased.”

“Out of our entire Area 13, we learned there are 14 schools scoring higher, and 14 schools scoring lower than Mollison. So, we concluded that CPS has a hidden motive. We guess by making us low-performing, they have an excuse to move our staff out,” says long-time Mollison parent and graduate, April Stogner. “My family grew up here, and my kids graduated from here and are in a great high school. Why replace our staff with teachers who do not know the kids and do not care about Mollison, especially when we can prove they are learning?”

Mollison school believes CPS is disguising this as a Mollison school consolidation because:

1. Wells Prep is a high scoring school where by closing and moving it would violate CPS’ new school closing guidelines,

2. CPS doesn’t want to draw attention to the fact that perhaps Wells Prep is in the way of their proposed AUSL turnaround at Phillips High School, and

3. By saying Mollison is under-performing, it gives CPS the right to fire all of the staff and administration at Mollison, thereby allowing a deal to be had where Wells Prep staff and administration may take over Mollison and attention does not get drawn to Wells Prep as the real school closing. Since CPS is masking the real school closing and move, Wells Prep doesn’t even get proper recourse during this process.

Additional facts about this unique situation include:

 Wells Prep was created specially as a small school and is located inside of Phillips High School, a school that CPS is proposing to “Turnaround” through AUSL.

 Wells Prep scored 71% on the ISAT, a 29% gain from 2003 to 2009.

 Wells Prep really seems to be the school that is marked for closure and relocation. In addition, CPS proposed a name change (i.e. Wells Prep – Mollison, or a new one altogether), even more proof that Wells Prep is being closed, and yet Mollison is being blamed.

Mollison School Data:

 Gained 20% points on our ISAT’s since 2003, where we are at 54.2%.

 The Performance Policy, which was passed this past December does not accurately reflect our learning; 74 schools are lower-performing than us and some of these school include those with good test scores.

 14 schools in Area 13 are lower performing than us, and 12 in Bronzeville are lower performing.

 For the past 3 years, Mollison outscored Area 13 averages on the ISAT, and the other two years, Mollison’s scores still increased.

 Mollison is not poorly performing enough to receive State SES funds, but yet CPS can create its own policy and deem Mollison chronically low performing.

The Bottom Line is that both Mollison and Wells Prep are victims of CPS’ larger plan that we don’t know about. The Mollison family asks that CPS not close or move either school and instead expose the CPS’ foul play. They also ask for support to attend the Mollison Hearing on February 8 from 8 - 10 PM at the CPS Board to support the school and learn why CPS’ proposal is a half-truth, and Mollison’s progress and victimization is the real truth! 

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