Southwest side students, teachers and community leaders get creative for Halloween in protest against alderman's support for charter school expansion...

Protesters outside the offices of Alderman Ed Burke were greeted with locked doors and a phalanx of police. Burke is one of the handful (fewer than eight) of the 50 members of the Chicago City Council who is still supporting the expansion of the city's charter schools. Burke's reactionary history goes back to his days as one of the leaders of the "Vrdolyak 21" who arrayed on behalf of white supremacy during the "Council Wars" days of the 1980s against Mayor Harold Washington. Substance photo by Ed Hershey.The Kelly Highs marching band, 115 members strong, led a massive march on Alderman Burkes office Monday afternoon, October 26, 2015, just after school let out. The march, which had at least 600 people in it, was protesting the proposed expansion of the "Noble Network of Charter Schools" on Chicago's Southwest Side, and the support for that expansion by Alderman Ed Burke. The band played for the march and during much of the rally, giving the proceedings an air both festive and raucous.

The bands excellent playing and disciplined marching is a shining example of the education that takes place in within CPSs real public schools. This reporter counted between 650 and 700 marchers: predominantly students, with a good representation of parents and community members, representatives of Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (who have been organizing the bulk of the opposition against the Noble proposal), Kelly teachers, and CTU members from other schools and union staff.

Illinois Assembly candidate and Kelly LSC member Teresa Mah was in attendance. CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey briefly addressed the assembled crowd in Kelly Park. He later remarked that it was a great event, and that he hoped the fight to defend community schools will keep growing. I dont believe that the people of Chicago will accept that the schools will have their funding cut.

The march had a Day of the Dead theme. The rally organizers left a large Day of the Dead offering -- an artistically constructed altar represented the death of education programs at the door of Alderman Burkes 14th ward office.

Alderman Burke is one of the only politicians in the area who has continued to support Nobles new school a school that promises to siphon students away from neighborhood schools in the area.

This reporter is a teacher at Lindblom, and believes that the Noble campus may even impact enrollment there. In a context where every public school is taking cuts, opening a new charter school is a hideous, Hunger Games style move, pitting schools and students against each other in a fight for ever more scarce resources.

To highlight the cuts, students carried black coffins, marked with the money cut from the area neighborhood high schools: Gage Park, 6.2 million lost; Hancock, 2 million lost; Everett Elementery, $375,000 lost. There was a lot of chanting, including: No ifs, no buts, no education cuts. The long procession marched back to Kelly, after rallying at office for 45 minutes or so. Rahm and Burke may get their school - but they will be doing so against a working class community which has shown its will to mobilize.


October 29, 2015 at 11:48 PM

By: Taylor Martin

Unsatisfactory Meeting

I went with my friend to Unsat rating meeting for CTU. Average age (or median) was about 45 without exaggerating . Seemed to be more African Americans. Very sad situation. CTU did a good job, but it really looks like CPS is trying to clean house. Wish we could get a stat on how many teachers have been rated Unsatisfactory. There must have been about 100 people at the meeting. And I would guess there are at least double to triple that amount out there. Very sad situation. Wisdom and experience seems to have no place in education. I think other CTU members, even with superior, ratings should be careful. CPS may come after you next. One bad year. or new Principal..and you can be gotten rid of.....

October 30, 2015 at 5:37 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

Slanders from Trolls removed from Substance

Two comments posted here earlier today -- from Abra... something or other and from "Anna Maria" -- both came from the same troll and have been removed. Substance comments must include the full name (first name and last name) of the sender and a current real email address. We police our borders here at Substance a couple of times a day, but missed them when they slipped in between lunch and LEAD. Sorry for any confusion.

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