CPS schedules new hearings in desperate try to give legitimacy to attacks on schools

As the tumultuous series of hearings aimed at closing and privatizing 22 Chicago public schools enters its third week on Monday, February 9, the Chicago Board of Education has quietly implemented what might be termed its "Plan B" to provide legitimacy to a program that has received almost unanimous opposition across the city.

On Thursday, February 5, and Friday, February 6, Chicago Board of Education officials distributed announcements for additional "hearings" on the proposed "Turnarounds" of six Chicago public schools. But while the current round of hearings -- all of which have met with unanimous opposition from the public -- are officially supposed to be conducted under Illinois law, the "Plan B" hearings are being sanctioned and promoted by the Chicago Board of Education, by sponsored and organized (with full CPS logistical support) by two quasi-private entities: The Academy for Urban School Leadership and "Renaissance 2010."

When is a 'hearing' not a hearing?

On February 5, while teachers, parents, and community leaders from Chicago's Woodlawn community were denouncing the CPS proposal to "turnaround" Dulles Elementary School (6311 S. Calumet Ave.), the supposedly "independent" hearing officer, almost as an afterthought, announced that CPS was also holding a "hearing" about Dulles. According to the announcement, people interested in the other "hearing" could find information about the "hearing" in the back of the Board of Education chambers, where the turnaround hearing was in progress.

Those who went to the back found a piece of paper headlined "Renaissance 2010" announcing that the "Academy for Urban School Leadership" would hold a "Public Hearing for Sondieratin of Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL) proposed turnaround of Dulles Elementary School."

The "Renaissance" and AUSL hearing was scheduled not to be held at Dulles Elementary School, where opposition to the "turnaround" is unanimous and passionate, but at 731 E. 63rd St. away from Dulles.

On Friday, February 6, the same pattern was repeated during the hearings on the proposed "turnarounds" facing James Weldon Johnson Elementary School (1420 S. Albany) and Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School (3030 W. Arthington), both in Chicago's Lawndale community.


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