Chicago Bulls to Help Resegregation, Gentrification of West Side... Board March 25 Agenda Expands 2009 Renaissance 2010 Hit List

Will there be some celebrity basketball players at the Chicago Board of Education meeting on March 25, 2009? It's possible.

One of the reasons for the meeting is to approve a Board Report (agenda item) giving away the "Multiplex" building at 2040 W. Adams St. to the new "Chicago Bulls Campus" of the Noble Street Charter Schools.

While some teachers and community leaders wondered why the Chicago Board of Education was determined to shut down its successful and highly publicized "small schools" experiment at the old McKinley High School building (above) and evict the current public schools from the building, others simply looked down the street to the United Center to the east for the answer. On March 25, 2009, Chicago's Board of Education will privatize the Cregier building (above) by turning it over to Noble Street Charter Schools for the Noble Street "Chicago Bulls Campus." Corporate Chicago has been working hand-in-hand with CPS to eliminate public schools (even those that received years of publicity, such as the small schools inside the "Multiplex" building above) to charterize as many of the school system's expensive buildings as possible. Some observers are betting that the March 25 Chicago Board of Education meeting will feature some celebrities from the Chicago Bulls to distract attention from the latest giveaway to Noble Street, which received special attention from Arne Duncan and the Bush administration before it became a favorite of corporate Chicago and the Obama administration today. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On February 25, 2009, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close the "Cregier Multiplex" as a public school, ending more than 100 years of service to the west side. But the building will then be semi-privatized and re-opened over the summer as one of the newest charter school "campuses" in Chicago.

According to Board Report 09-0315-EX14, "In March 2009, the Board proposed the location for the Noble Street Charter School -- Chicago Bulls College Prep Campus. The Chicago Bulls College Prep Campus will be located at 2040 W. Adams. A public hearing for the proposed location waqs held on March 18, 2009, at Best Practices High School, located at 2040 W. Adams.

The hearings (sic) were recorded and summary reports are available for review."

When the long agenda for the March 25, 2009 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education became available to the public at 10:00 a.m. on March 23 (in technical compliance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act), it became clear that three months of protest against the school closings, consolidations, phase outs, and "turnarounds" promoted by the Renaissance 2010 program had been ignored.

In fact, the Board seemed to be adding a new category of schools to what activists have called the "Hit List" --

Force Outs.

During hearings in January and February 2009, parents, students, teachers and community leaders asked why South Chicago Elementary School (above) was being targeted for closing when the school had developed a hugely successful program because it was able to take advantage of its small student enrollment. On February 25, 2009, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close South Chicago, ignoring the record it had established. On March 25, the Board will vote to put a boutique school supported by some of the clout in the South Chicago community inside the building, destroying a proven public school and replacing it with an unproven "new schools" promoted by the CPS "Office of New Schools" and Mayor Daley's "Renaissance 2010" program. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.On March 25, the Board of Education will be voting on motions to begin the slow death of at least ten Chicago public elementary schools that were not on any lists prior to March 2009. These schools are Wadsworth Elementary, Faraday Elementary, Penn Elementary, Tilton Elementary and others. By the time Renaissance 2010 is done, the number of public elementary schools (not "charters" or some other form of boutique schools) on Chicago's West Side will be half of what it was when the "renaissance" began for Chicago Public Schools in 2002 ("Renaissance 2010" was declared officially in June 2004, but the "renaissance" had begun in April 2002 with the Board's attack on Dodge, Terrell and Williams elementary schools).

Despite protests, CPS plans to expand "Hit List" at March 25 meeting

Basically, after all the protests, CPS will be expanding the number of public schools on its "Hit List" when it votes tomorrow.

The majority of schools newly targeted for destruction under "Renaissance 2010" -- as embodied in tomorrow's agenda -- serve poor and black children with staffs (teachers, principals, other) who are also African American. Since the beginning of Renaissance 2010, as CORE has reported, the Daley administration has eliminated more than 2,000 African American teachers and at least 100 principals and administrators from the city's public school system. Renaissance 2010 has been responsible for the elimination of more union jobs for black people in Chicago than were eliminated when Misssissippi tried to avoid desegregation by ending its Jim Crow black schools between 1950 and 1955, on the even of the Brown decision.

While black people are being eliminated from union jobs in Chicago's quickly privatizing public schools, they are not the only ones facing the juggernaut of gentrification and "New Schools."

The old Cregier "Multiplex" building at 2040 W. Adams St. (above) has served as a public school for more than 100 years, first as McKinley High School, then as Cregier Vocational High School, and most recently as the "small schools" "multiplex" (above, in a January 2009 photograph). If the Board of Education and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley have their way, on March 25, 2009, the Board will vote to complete the destruction of the Cregier site and privatize it into the hands of the "Noble Street Charter Schools Bulls Campus." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The second largest group of schools being destroyed under Renaissance 2010 are in the city's growing Latino barrios. Carpenter Elementary School is among those. As CORE and Substance have already noted, this is a targeted attack, with Black Chicago suffering the greatest destruction and union teachers in all-black schools being singled out. Meanwhile, schools serving enclaves of privilege and affluence (usually, "diverse" racially and ethnically, but not economically) are having their privileges expanded.

Did three months of protests change the direction of "Renaissance 2010"? If the agenda for the March 25, 2009, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education is any indication, no. In case anyone thought that all those protests mattered, the agenda for tomorrow's Board of Education meeting contains every one of the school takeovers that GEM and CORE organized to oppose, plus a group of new ones.

Law evaded

Carpenter and Schneider elementary schools being squeezed out. Ogden and Alcott "high schools" go from being "high schools" to being "K-12" without regard to legal notifications or requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

Of special note is that the Board Report for the destruction of Carpenter Elementary Schools. Elementary School has been changed from "Establish Ogden International High School" to "Establish Ogden International School." At the last minute, the Board's Office of New Schools (the "Renaissance 2010" office on the 5th floor at CPS) changed both the Ogden plan and the "Alcott High School" plan have been changed -- literally illegally in the last seconds before tomorrow's vote -- from a "high school" plan to a "K-12" school plan. The Board has also been making sure that it has dozens of cheerleaders lined up to sing its praises on March 25 as well.

On Friday night, March 20, at the time of the Carpenter protest, the Board report in the materials being used by the hearing officer and the CPS people running the hearing still was calling what's going to be done to Carpenter "Ogden International High School." That was what all the Ogden supporters were discussing on Friday, March 20, 2009, at 1615 W. Chicago Ave. -- "Ogden International High School."

But since Friday night, the Board Report has been changed to call the thingy being put into Ogden "Ogden International School" (with the word "High" deleted). This is doubtless because we pointed out that the Near North building was available. So now they are claiming that since this is a visionary "K-12" project (who knew?) it really can't be put into Near North.

Additions to Renaissnce 2010 2009 "Hit List"

A number of mysteries are solved with the publication of the agenda for the March 25 Board meeting, including why CPS was determined to close a number of successful small elementary schools. The answer? The schools' buildings have been targeted for "Renaissance 2010" schools. -- the "Air Force Academy" (to go inside Medill); the expanded KIPP charter school (to be located at 1616 S. Avers, the current site of Penn Elementary School); -- "Chicago Academy for Advanced Technology" (to be located at Medill along with the "Air Force Academy");

-- EPIC Academy (to be located at what is still South Chicago Elementary School, 8255 S. Houston);

In addition to the schools that have already been the scene of protest and formal hearings, the Board will add additional schools to the list on March 25. Typically, CPS votes to do a "shared facility" and then allows the charter school or other school to undermine the existing public school from the inside, eventually displacing it. -- "Chicago Talent Development High School" (that's the one being sponsored by the Illinois Federation of Teachers and Local 73 of SEIU) (to be located at 223 N. Keeler, Tilton Elementary School);

-- Garfield Park Preparatory Academy (to be located at 3250 W. Monroe, the current site of Faraday Elementary School, which is across the parking lot north of Marshall High School);

-- Urban Prep -- East Garfield Park "Campus" (to be located at Cather Elementary School, ); -- Alcott High School Campus, also known as "Alcott High School for the Humanities" (to be located at Schneider Elementary School, 2957 N. Hoyne); -- "Expansion of Ogden Elementary School with the Establishment of a High School Campus to be known as Ogden International High School" (to be located at Carpenter Elementary School, 1250 W. Erie);

-- the establishment of "South Shore Fine Arts Academy" (to be located at Fermi Elementary School, 1415 E. 70th St.);

The Chicago Board of Education began the slow death of Wadsworth Elementary School (above) three years ago, when Arenda Troutman was still alderman of the ward and living a few blocks away. Troutman is now in jail, but Wadsworth has continued to be upgraded so that it could be given away to the University of Chicago charter schools. ON March 25, the Chicago Board of Education will vote on a seemingly innocuous motion to change attendance boundaries, a motion that will effectively end Wadsworth and pave the way for the completion of the U of C takeover of the desirable building. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.-- and the further expansion of the University of Chicago charter schools by changing the structure of Wadsworth Elementary School, 6420 S. University (again). There is much much more on the agenda for the March 25 Board meeting, but if anyone thought the last three months had changed the trajectory of "Renaissance 2010," please examine carefully what is reported above.

In addition to the 16 schools the Board voted to close or otherwise change on February 25, the Board has added about a large number of new schools that are being slowly destroyed, under the provisions of "Renaissance 2010." 


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