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Jan. 28, 2009... Daley shuts out protesters after tumultuous Board of Education meeting

More than 1,000 protesters assembled at the Chicago Board of Education headquarters on January 28, 2009, to oppose any further closing, turnarounds, phase out, or realignments of Chicago's remaining public schools. Above: the head of the march continues after being barred from entry into the Chase Bank building at 21 S. Clark St. The protesters had chosen Chase Bank because it hosts an entity called the "Renaissance Schools Fund," a private foundation which has raised $50 million in conservative donations to further the privatization and charterization of Chicago's public schools. Bank officials refused to allow the protesters into the bank building, so the march continued north as depicted. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.More than 1,000 teachers, parents, students, and community leaders marched in bitter cold weather from the headquarters of the Chicago Board of Education past the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club and up to Chicago's City Hall to protest the latest attempt by the school board to privatize additional public schools under Mayor Richard M. Daley's "Renaissance 2010" program. The program, now in its sixth year, has contributed to the destabilization of many of Chicago's inner city neighborhoods, according to critics, who spoke out at the monthly meeting of the Chicago Board of Education earlier in the day and then were joined by hundreds of teachers and students who arrived on buses from across Chicago for the after-school protests.

The protesters, who assembled as early as 6:00 a.m. at the Chicago Public Schools headquarters at 125 S. Clark St. for a day of speakouts, protests, marches, and press conferences, grew after school let out in the afternoon when buses began arriving from schools across the city.

After marching for more than 15 minutes in front of the school board's headquarters, the protesters began to move slowly north on Clark St. in the bitter cold. Their twin objectives were the Chase Bank building, at 21 S. Clark St., and City Hall, two blocks farther north.

The choice of the Chase Bank building was because Chase is home to the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club and a private entity called the "Renaissance Schools Fund." The "Renaissance Schools Fund" (RSF) is a $50 million philanthropy dedicated to privatizing as many Chicago public schools as possible, forcing parents and teachers into a "marketplace" based on the now-discredited economic philosophies that gave rise to the current world wide Depression.

The marchers, who had swelled to more than 700 by 5:15, were not allowed to enter the Chase Bank building and continued on towards City Hall, as their ranks continued to grow. By 5:20, more than 1,000 people were involved in the march and protest, which continued back at the Board of Education while moving north towards the offices of Mayor Richard M. Daley as well.

At City Hall, Chicago police blocked the entrances, finally allowing only about 25 people -- about half of them children -- inside the public building. The entire march had asked to see the mayor, but the police blockade at the buildings south entrance effectively limited those inside to a small number. The remainder of the marchers moved east to the Picasso statue in Daley Plaza, where they held a rally while their colleagues were being thwarted in their attempt to see the mayor a block away.

THE COMPLETE TEXT -- WITH ALL GRAPHICS -- OF THIS ARTICLE WILL BE PUBLISHED IN THE FEBRUARY 2009 PRINT EDITION OF SUBSTANCE. THE PRINT EDITION WILL BE MAILED TO ALL SUBSCRIBERS ON FEBRUARY 17, 2009.



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