Big rally planned against 2012 Hit List for Thursday, February 16, on South Side

A large number of public officials, community groups, and the Chicago Teachers Union will be holding a rally on Thursday, February 16, 2012 beginning at 6:00 p.m. to oppose the Hit List which is going to be voted on by the Chicago Board of Education at its February 22 meeting. The rally will be held a few blocks north of Barack Obama's Chicago home: Pleasant Gift Church, Bronzeville, 4526 S. Greenwood, 6-8 pm. on Thurs. February 16.

One of the mailings promoting the event by the CTU follows:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We urge you to attend a public meeting on Thursday, February 16, 2012. This rally will unite representatives of the 16 school communities whose schools face being closed, phased-out and turned-around by the Chicago Board of Education on February 22, 2012.

Please stand with the affected school communities by ATTENDING this important rally at at Pleasant Gift Baptist Church in the Bronzeville community, 4526 S. Greenwood, 6-8 pm. on Thurs. 2/16.

Among the invited guests will be legislators and allies who support the neighborhood schools’ efforts to improve the schools in a community- and teacher-led process, in direct opposition to the proposed take-over by politically connected private school operators. This meeting will call for passage in the Illinois Legislature of two bills which would institute a moratorium on closings, phase-outs and turnarounds.

The state legislative task force created to address community concerns over Chicago's efforts to shut down or turnaround under-performing schools is calling for a moratorium on school closings, phase-outs and turnarounds.

State Rep. Cynthia Soto, (D-Chicago), has introduced a bill in the General Assembly calling for a ban on these school actions in the Illinois General Assembly. Co-sponsors include: Robert W. Pritchard, Derrick Smith, Maria Antonia Berrios, Mary E. Flowers, Dena M. Carli, Elizabeth Hernandez, Mike Fortner, Jerry L. Mitchell and Luis Arroyo.

HB4487 Amends the Chicago School District Article of the School Code. It provides that there shall be a moratorium on school closings, consolidations, and phase-outs in the school district in the 2012-2013 school year. It provides that any of these actions that are subsequently appropriate must be carried out no sooner than the end of the 2013-2014 school year, subject to any new set of requirements adopted by the General Assembly.

During this moratorium period, it requires the district to establish policies that address and remedy the academic performance of schools in which Illinois Standards Achievement Test scores reflect students performing at or below 75%. It requires these policies to establish clear criteria or processes for establishing criteria for making school facility decisions and include clear criteria for setting priorities with respect to school openings, school closings, school consolidations, school turnarounds, school phase-outs, school construction, school repairs, school modernizations, school boundary changes, and other related school facility decisions, including the encouragement of multiple community uses for school space. When passed, it will be effective immediately.

Sen. Iris Y. Martinez has introduced a similar bill in the Illinois State Senate (SB323) with co-sponsor Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins.

For more info, please see an editorial response by Rep. Soto here:

Please assist CTU and its community allies generate support for neighborhood schools and support the moratorium legislatation by ATTENDING an important rally at at Pleasant Gift Church, Bronzeville, 4526 S. Greenwood, 6-8 pm. on Thurs. February 16





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