BOARDWATCH: Kati Gilson's speech to the Board February 27, 2013
Good afternoon. My name is Kati Gilson. I am a National Board Certified Teacher. I teach Preschool for All at Sumner Math & Science Academy. I attended the first Garfield Humboldt Park community hearing. The size of the facility was inadequate for the crowd of over 1000. At one point, Spanish speaking participants, were urged to go to the basement, which is a form of segregation. Two speakers were allowed per school, chosen by the principals at the direction of the Network Chief.
The recorder for CPS stayed in the main meeting for the first half. The overflow of people was set to the basement and the recorder went down there leaving no one to record the second half of the main meeting. Although this was called a “break out session”, in reality it was a crowd control issue. The CPS representatives told security to lock the doors due to the number of people trying to get in. The report on the CPS website states a Power Point was shown. This is not true.
How does the Board of Education expect readers to get an accurate account of events when half the meeting was not documented? Why are the CEO and Board of Education members not attending these meetings? This is a slap in the face to the communities. CPS is deliberately pitting school against school, neighbor against neighbor. No schools should be closed -- and student deaths resulting from this action are the responsibility of CPS.
Because of the Ready to Learn Applicatios, no one knows if they will have a preschool program next year. Schools have been told not to enroll any kids and CPS laid off all the Ed Coaches in June. Only 4 of 14 Network Coaches have been hired. CPS had one of the best Early Childhood Education programs in the country ad CPS has destroyed it. Professional development, personnel and supply money has been severely cut. Waiting lists have expended leaving kids without a preschool program.
Mrs. Byrd-Bennett, did you receive the book the Sumner preschool wrote about their school?
Closing schools is detrimental to students and communities. My preschool students say a hero is someone who helps people and tells the truth. They hope you will become a hero.