Comment by Mahalia Hines demonstrates hypocrisy of Chicago Board of Education members... 'How will Dyett get students?' remark blithely ignores Hines's five years of votes to sabotage Dyett and a hundred other real public schools...

Tenth Ward alderman Sue Sadlowski Garza (right) and University of Illinois Professor Pauline Lipman (background, with glasses) assist one of the Dyett hunger strikers, Jeanette Taylor, away from the podium during the August 26, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education. Substance photo by David Vance.Less than an hour after an ambulance arrived at the August 26, 2015 meeting of the Chicago Board of Education arrived to take one of the hunger strikers from Dyett High School to the hospital, Board of Education member Mahalia Hines spoke. Ignoring the tragedies unfolding at Dyett, and the deprivations of many of the city's communities (especially in the Black Community), Hines couldn't resist the urge, once again, to play the scold and make a comment on the situation at Dyett.

"But where will they get students?" Hines said, as if she had not voted, over more than four years, to slowly sabotage Dyett High School. Hines spoke as if the Board of Education had nothing to do with the fact that Dyett (like several other Chicago high schools which had been "bled to death" by the Board for more than ten years) had been barred from taking students for the past four years. The result, which was caused by a policy that Hines had voted for, was that in June 2015, Dyett had only a dozen students. Those were graduated, and the school building, one of the loveliest in Chicago, on the edge of Washington Park, presently sits empty. And it was the votes of Mahalia Hines and Jesse Ruiz, both of whom remain on the Chicago Board of Education, created the situation at Dyett today.

But at the August 26 Board of Education meeting, the teachers, parents and students who have fought for years for a new Dyett forced the Board to look at the courage of those who wish for Dyett to remain a real public school for the community in the face. One of the dozen Dyett supporters who have been on a hunger strike stood briefly before the Board while University of Illinois Professor Rico Gutstein and Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza asked the Board to re-open Dyett immediately. The community, known as "Bronzeville, has not had a general high school for the children of that community since the Board of Education voted (with Hines and Ruiz voting "Yes") to place Wendell Phillips High School under so-called "turnaround."

Jeanette Taylor, one of the hunger strikers at Dyett High School, spoke briefly to the Board before she began feeling sick and had to be helped from the podium. Board member Mahaia Hines, who has devoted her votes over more than four years to sabotaging Dyett, waited until Taylor was in the hospital before continuing her sanctimonious prattle in defense of the Board's policies attacking the real public schools in Chicago's Black Community. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Hines made her remarks just before she made a motion that the Board of Education go into "closed session." Most of the people who had come to the Board meeting had already left the meeting, because hunger striker Jeanette Taylor had suffered near collapse following her remarks to the Board.

Taylor had told the Board, I should not be hungry in 2015 over a neighborhood high school thats supposed to belong to the community. Weve been working on Dyett since 2009, and CPS has not followed its own process." Taylor noted that the most recent stalling by the Board of Education took place a week earlier. CPS moved a hearing on Dyett from August to Sept. 15. CPS officials claimed that the Board "expects to present its recommendation to the board at the Board's Sept. 29 meeting.

Hines's remarks were not the first time she had pontificated about her version of what her "community" really wanted, as she voted to continue the official policies of the man who had appointed her to the school board: Mayor Rahm Emanuel. During her more than four years on the Board, Hines had voted to continue the stalling against Dyett, to place dozens of schools into the expensive so-called "turnaround," and to close more than 50 of the city's real public schools, while constantly expanding privatization via the expansion of the city's charter schools and "campuses."

As usual, Board of Education member Mahalia Hines (left above) waited until the end of the Board meeting before she delivered one of her usual self-important lectures about the superiority of the Board's knowledge and wisdom. Hines added insult to the injuries being suffered by Dyett High School by claiming, without evidence, that there was nobody who would go to Dyett were it to be reopened, as the hunger strikers were demanding, as a neighborhood school. Although historical context is often missing when the Board speaks, it was nearly impossible for observers left at the end of the meeting to ignore the fact that Hines's votes over more than four years had been a major part of the reason why Dyett had been sabotaged to the point where by June 2015 only 13 students were left. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The August 26 Board meeting was the first meeting in more than four years when David Vitale, Henry Bienen, and two other Board members were not present. Mayor Emanuel had replaced the majority of the Board members earlier in the summer, so that for the first time in years, this reporter, other members of the press, and those trying to pay attention to the Board didn't have to listen to the self-important pronouncements of Vitale, Bienen, and others each time their policies and votes were challenged. But, as many noted, Hines was ready to continue the tradition.

Vitale and Bienen had regularly chided critics of the Board by proclaiming that the Board members had superior knowledge when they made their decisions (Vitale referred to this dozens of times as "the true facts") while Hines would then fill in claiming that her "community" (that is, the Black people of Chicago) supported what the Board was doing, even at the time when Hines and the Board members voted unanimously to close 50 of the city's real public schools at their May 2013 meeting.


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