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Dr. King's memory honored with a massive defense of real public schools in the city he tried to organize... Chicago Teachers Union joins community organizations in citywide Chicago organizing against the 2013 Hit List

On January 19, 2013, Chicago Teachers Union members, in cooperation with GEM (Grassroots Education Movement) and a coalition of community organizations will fan out across Chicago in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s memory and in support of public education. The activities will organize communities facing school closings and the ongoing attack on the city's real public schools by the current mayor and his appointees at the Chicago Public Schools.

The January 2013 mobilizations continue the organizing against what has come to be called the annual "Hit List" (of Chicago public schools to be closed, co-located, phased out, or subjected to corporate school reform programs such as "turnaround").

For five winters, the current leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union, organized by CORE (the Caucus Of Rank and file Educators) have challenged the Hit List published by CPS and endorsed by Chicago's plutocracy.

Since 2011, when the Hit List was scrapped by Interim Schools CEO Terry Mazany, the organizing against the annual attack on public schools has been under the leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union and its community allies. (CORE was elected to lead the CTU in June 2010 and the CORE leadership team -- Karen Lewis, Jesse Sharkey, Kristine Mayle, and Michael Brunson -- took office at the union on July 1, 2010).

In January 2012, the CTU and CORE joined with community groups to oppose the 2012 Hit List, the first prepared by the Board of Education appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Despite the facts and massive mobilizations, the mayor's school board voted to "turn around" 16 CPS schools.

The vote of the Board of Education in favor of the 2012 Hit List came despite massive protests and the moving testimony of hundreds of parents, students, and teachers against the proposals. In addition to the protests, CTU and others had produced research to show that "turnaround" had failed to improve what corporate reformers call "student outcomes" (basically, higher test scores). But the research also shows that the elimination of African American teachers and other staff from the city's public schools has been unprecedented since Arne Duncan began the so-called "Renaissance" between 2002 and 2004.

More than a decade after former Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Arne Duncan, in 2002, began the massive destruction of schools in Chicago's black community behind the "Renaissance 2010" program of Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, the attack on the public schools and communities of Chicago's inner city continues in 2013. Following the publication in the Chicago Sun-Times of a list of the public schools that "meet the criteria" for closing in 2013, researchers at the Chicago Teachers Union plotted those schools on a map. The map (above) shows that for the past decade the Hit List (as it has come to be called by teachers and community activists) continues to target those real public schools in the largest black and Latino ghetto/barrio in North American, the west and south sides of Chicago. A January 18, 2013 CTU press release announcing the January 19, 2013 events follows:

Parents, Students and Educators Rally For Community Outreach to Save Chicago Schools... MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin January 19, 2013 312.329.6250

CHICAGO-Parents, students and education justice activists are gathering at seven sites throughout the city Saturday, Jan. 19, for Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) community outreach to save Chicago's neighborhood schools. This outreach and engagement is to educate and provide an opportunity for residents to speak out for quality public education, be a voice for their own communities and join the CTU in efforts to save neighborhood schools. Each canvass site is open to the public and members of the media.

"CPS has more than 100 schools — our schools — on the chopping block," said CTU President Karen Lewis, NBCT. "We're going into these neighborhoods and uniting with our brothers and sisters to help them fight for the schools and the quality education they deserve."

NORTH

Stockton Elementary 4420 N. Beacon St.

Albany Park Neighborhood Council 4749 N. Kedzie Ave., 2nd Fl. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. WEST. Blocks Together

3455 W. North Ave.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lewis Elementary

1431 N. Leamington Ave.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SOUTH

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

4242 S. Cottage Grove

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ruggles Elementary

7831 S. Prairie Ave.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fenger High School

11220 S. Wallace St.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The community outreach is presented by the CTU in collaboration with the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM). GEM is committed to democratic principles in the governance, pedagogy, and culture of our public schools, and believes that education should prepare students to deeply understand the roots of inequality and be prepared to act to change the world.

Other participating community organizations include Action Now, the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Blocks Together, the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and Northside Action for Justice.

###

The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU's website at www.ctunet.com.

SG:oteg-743-tr

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin

January 19, 2013 312.329.6250

Parents, Students and Educators Rally For

Community Outreach to Save Chicago Schools

CHICAGO-Parents, students and education justice activists are gathering at seven sites throughout the city Saturday, Jan. 19, for Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) community outreach to save Chicago's neighborhood schools. This outreach and engagement is to educate and provide an opportunity for residents to speak out for quality public education, be a voice for their own communities and join the CTU in efforts to save neighborhood schools. Each canvass site is open to the public and members of the media.

"CPS has more than 100 schools-our schools-on the chopping block," said CTU President Karen Lewis, NBCT. "We're going into these neighborhoods and uniting with our brothers and sisters to help them fight for the schools and the quality education they deserve."

NORTH WEST

Stockton Elementary Blocks Together

4420 N. Beacon St. 3455 W. North Ave.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Albany Park Neighborhood Council Lewis Elementary

4749 N. Kedzie Ave., 2nd Fl. 1431 N. Leamington Ave.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SOUTH

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

4242 S. Cottage Grove

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Ruggles Elementary

7831 S. Prairie Ave.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fenger High School

11220 S. Wallace St.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The community outreach is presented by the CTU in collaboration with the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM). GEM is committed to democratic principles in the governance, pedagogy, and culture of our public schools, and believes that education should prepare students to deeply understand the roots of inequality and be prepared to act to change the world.

Other participating community organizations include Action Now, the Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Blocks Together, the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and Northside Action for Justice.

###

The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU's website at www.ctunet.com.

SG:oteg-743-tr

Substance reporters will be present at the Janaury 19 events and our reports will begin to be published at www.substancenews.net on the morning of January 20, 2013, with the aim of completing our coverage by the time the nation honors Dr. King's memory on January 21, 2013 with a public school holiday.

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