Breaking News from Chicago to be Posted on as Renaissance 2010 Battles Unfold

The Chicago Board of Education has no intention of ending "Renaissance 2010" in 2010, as the slide above shows. The above information was presented to the Chicago Board of Education at its October 2008 meeting by Josh Edelman, "Chief New Schools Officer" of the Chicago Public Schools. Working with the private "Renaissance Schools Fund" and largely in secret from the public, Chicago's privatization and charter schools plans are now projected for the five years beyond 2010, when many believe Renaissance 2010 would end. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.With the continuation of the massive privatization and union busting in Chicago even after the departure of former Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan to work as U.S. Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, an unprecedented coalition of teacher, community, parent, and students groups will be protesting against a new round of attacks on the public schools beginning January 26 in Chicago.

Between January 26, 2009, and February 25, 2009, the Chicago Board of Education will be holding hearings to decide the fate of more than 20 public schools which Arne Duncan has proposed for closing, privatization, or reconstitution (which in Chicago is called "turnaround" using the corporate jargon). For the seventh year in a row, the Chicago Board of Education is implementing the "Renaissance 2010" program, a corporate plan to create private public schools by stripping the city's remaining public schools of assets and promoting non-union alternatives (mostly charter schools) at public expense within Chicago.

After a major protest at the December 17 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education by teachers and students from seven Chicago public schools against the mistreatment of the city's remaining true public schools, a large coalition of groups came together for a significant all-day conference and hearing against the proposed changes at Chicago's Malcolm X College on Saturday, January 10. Despite heavy snow, more than 500 people showed up at Malcolm X to testify against the latest Board of Education plans to continue to gut the city's public schools.

The Malcolm X hearings gave rise to the formation of a new citywide coalition in opposition to "Renaissance 2010" called GEM. That coalition, which includes numerous community and parent organizations, also includes the current leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union and all three caucuses within the CTU -- CORE (the Caucus of Rank-and-file Educators), CSDU (the Coalition for a Strong Democratic Union), and PACT (the Pro-Active Chicago Teachers and School Workers). Substance newspaper, which sponsors this website, is also a part of the new coalition.

Beginning January 26, 2009, Substance will be posting daily updates from the front lines as the hearings begin in Chicago on the future of Chicago's public schools. These updates will come from a variety of reporters and correspondents, some of whom will remain off the record. Substance will provide major coverage of the January 28 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. At that time, more than 500 people are expected to turn out in opposition to the latest plans to undermine democratic public education in Chicago. Groups in the coaliton and others are also opposing any further plans to privatize, militarize, or de-unionize the public schools of the third-largest public school system in the USA.


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