Raise Your Hand rally spirited... Coalition holds rally in support of education funding and Facilities Planning law while Rahm Emanuel tries to kill the bill

A growing and articulate number of people are growing angry at Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has been cow-towing to the financial interests against public education for several years. Substance photo by Jim Vail.A small, but spirited group of about 75 parents, children and community activists gathered outside the Thompson Center on May 24, 2011, to protest the state budget cuts to education. Speakers also noted that a bill that would require Chicago to hold hearings before any facilities decisions are made seems to be generating opposition from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

One of the speakers at the Rally for a Better Education or Moms March on Madigan sponsored by the Raise Your Hand group noted a cruel irony — taxes were raised while education was cut. “Somebody who makes these policies decided it’s ok to short change our children,” said Wendy Katten, a parent with Raise Your Hand.

One of the promises Illinois governor Pat Quinn made to get the Chicago Teachers Union endorsement was an income tax increase to avoid education cuts. Quinn made good on the first part, signing into law a bill that raised income taxes by 67 percent, but none of it went to education.

The children carried signs reading “Mike Madigan stole my milk money,” “Education cuts never heal,” and “I need gym.”

Some of the signs at the Raise Your Hand coalition rally. Substance photo by Jim Vail.“Illinois passed an income tax increase and put NONE of the money toward education,” the Raise Your Hand press release stated. “Now the Illinois House is proposing hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to early childhood education and general state aid, which would severely impact critical education programs and staffing at the school level.”

Community activist Gema Gaete from Pilsen Alliance stirred up the young crowd telling everyone to support Senate Bill 620 that would hold the Board of Education accountable to any school facility changes, giving communities a voice in the process.

“We heard Rahm (Emanuel) is doing a back-hand deal to kill the bill,” she said. “Why would you kill a bill that is for parents and students to hold CPS accountable. No more backroom deals!” 


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