CTU, GEM schedule seven community outreach activities for Saturday to protest CPS Hit List

The Chicago Teachers Union and GEM (Grassroots Education Movement) are scheduling seven activities across Chicago in protest agains the development of the 2013 CPS "Hit List" of schools to be closed.

The activities, which will mostly consist of community outreach, are as follows:

January 17, 2013

Colleagues and friends:

1. SATURDAY IS MORE IMPORTANT TO OUR WORK THAN NATO WAS. I wish that I could be in two or more places at once, but Saturday's "Martin Luther King Jr" actions need SUBSART. In cooperation with its community partners, the CTU is doing seven community "reaching out" activities on the first day of the weekend of the King holiday. Officially, the work is co=sponsored by GEM and CTU. You can find the locations, from Uptown through the Far South Side, at the CTU website. But in case anyone missed them, here they are:

-- NORTHEAST (with Northside Action for Justice) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from Stockton Elementary School, 4420 N. Beacon.

-- NORTHWEST (with the Albany Park Neighborhood Council) from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from the APNC office, 4749 N. Kedzie.

-- WEST (with Blocks Together) from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from the Blocks Together office, 3455 W. North Ave.

-- WEST (with Action Now) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from Lewis Elementary School, 1431 N. Leamington.

-- MID SOUTH (with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from the KOCO office, 4242 S. Cottage Grove.

-- SOUTH (with Action Now) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from Ruggles Elementary, 7831 S. Prairie.

-- FAR SOUTH (with Action Now) from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from Fenger High School, 11220 S. Wallace.

This is the launching of the protests against the 2013 Hit List. Last year, before the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, we protested, and Substance covered, the attacks on schools across the city, most based in the false program of "turnaround." The protests that were mounted at all the schools under attack were well organized, based on truth, and courageous. The march from Marquette Elementary School to Marquette Park and through the community was particularly moving because of the manner in which we noted the gang horrors that were at large in the community.

And yet, from a tactical point of view, these massive mobilizations "failed." The Board, ignoring both fact and community, voted unanimously and without debate to thrust these schools into "turnaround" and destroy the public schools of the city further. Following that, this Board of Education then expanded further the charter schools which have now been proved decisively to be "failures" by any measure.

Last year, we had the Hit List early because the Board followed the law, held hearings on the requirements in October and November, and promulgated the Hit List on December 1.

This year, CPS, the mayor, and one well placed politician (Sen. Iris Martinez) undermined the law with both lies and political maneuverings. The lies included pretending that a Hit List could not be developed by December 1 (even going so far as to ignore the fact that it had been done the year earlier!). The political opportunism of Senator Iris Martinez and the majority (not all) of the Democratic Party leadership in Springfield then approved the Emanuel administration's request that the deadline be pushed aside and replayed to March 31, 2013. They also undermined the deadline for the ten-year facilities plan, which was supposed to be promulgated by January 1.

But there is more than requires our work with the communities: By avoiding the promulgation of the Hit List from December until March, the Board, deliberately in my opinion, if forcing families who want to get out of the closing schools to go to the charter schools. The deadlines for applying to the real CPS selective enrollment elementary and high schools was in December 2012. But the stalling means that no family can apply for those schools. Meanwhile, CPS is expanding charter schools and wasting more money in order to increase the charters at the very time when they are needed least, and when the public schools need more resources the most.


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