Chicago Teachers Union and allies vow to continue the fights against school closings despite February 28 Board of Education vote to close Robeson now and three other schools in a few years...

The Chicago Teachers Union and a group of allies vowed to continue the fight against Chicago school closings following the vote of the Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, to close Robeson High School in June 2018 and three other schools in Englewood within a few years. The CTU leadership vowed to continue the fight both in an email to members and through a press release issued to all media.

An email from CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey issued March 1, 2018 follows here:

Wednesday's school board vote and next steps

Dear sisters and brothers:

As you've likely heard by now, despite the tireless efforts not just of the CTU but school communities across Chicago, the CPS board voted on Wednesday to close three schools and consolidate others.

While we will continue to oppose the board's deplorable decision, it's worth remembering that we succeeded in derailing CPS plans to co-locate a charter in Hirsh next year, and forced CPS to retreat on outright closing three of Engelwood's high schools. That fight by our union and our allies means that 45 of our members will have secure work next year.

We can also report that, at the CTU's insistence, CPS has agreed to work to secure full-time positions for the coming school year for members impacted by outright closure, including teachers at Robeson. We will also continue to defend all impacted members' rights under Appendix H of our contract -- and in our organizing and political work on the ground.

We will continue to battle this un-elected school board and the mayor who controls their agenda -- an agenda that ignores the wishes of the students and families of this city who cherish our neighborhood public schools as centers of learning and incubators of creativity and hope.

That's why we're asking you to contact your state senator and demand what every other school district in the state has: an elected, representative school board that provides our city with the democratic control and accountability we deserve. Please spread the word about this effort. The Illinois House has overwhelmingly voted to give Chicagoans this right. Now we need to push the Senate to do the same - and finally put an end to this mayor's pitiless and failed school policies.

The CPS school board, top school bureaucrats and the mayor who dictates their actions ignore parents, students, community residents and our members at their peril. We will continue to fight school privatization, school closings and so-called phase-outs on the ground, as partners in this city’s growing grassroots movement for educational equity - in what is evolving into one of the great civil rights battles of our time.

In solidarity,

CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey