PSAT for 3-19-13, Part 1: More reasons to support the school closing moratorium

psat_logoFor Public Schools Action Tuesday today, please get in touch with your state senators and representatives asap to support SB1571 and HB3283, the CPS school closing moratorium bills.

Here are some new reasons why:

  • Senator Delgado is holding a hearing on SB1571 this afternoon at 1 pm. Several of our aldermen are traveling down to Springfield to support the bill: Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Coalition members Ald. John Arena (45th), Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), Ald. Toni Foulkes (15), Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd).
  • CReATE, the network of area university educators and researchers, has released a new fact sheet on school closures which concludes: “the data reviewed in this research brief does not support Chicago Public Schools’ claim that closures are a viable solution to the current issues in the district. Instead, their greatest potential is to inflict deeper harm on African-American and Latino communities…. (M)assive school closings are poised to continue the legacy of mass displacements, marginalization and isolation of low-income communities of color in Chicago” (emphasis added).
  • An e-mail from Jackie Leavy, assistant to the state-created Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, says there should be no school closings until after the CEFTF has completed and reported its 10-year facilities plan. No closing without careful planning!
  • As I wrote yesterday, we now know for sure that CPS CEO  Barbara Byrd-Bennett was just wasting time with the 3-month extension she received from the state legislature last November. She claimed she needed the extra time to “launch a rigorous, transparent and open dialogue with school communities over the next several months to help the District make more informed decisions around school actions….(and to) give the community the respect they deserve in this process.” Yet after dozens of hearings where thousands of people shared their emotional stories about their schools and begged for them to be saved, she had the nerve to sum it all up with “Everyone got that we need to close schools.” Clearly, her school closing bible comes from the Broad Foundation, where she is a staff coach (her second job – poor dear) and her “listening” skills come straight out of the Broad and Joyce Foundation-funded playbook on “community engagement,” which researchers have re-titled, “Giving Parents the Run-Around on School Turnarounds.”

From the Progressive Caucus press release: “The closings of these public institutions is bad for our communities and harmful to our children,” said Ald. Fioretti. “Our caucus objects to CPS’ shutting down of these schools, which so many of our constituents rely on for nutritional services, for after-school recreation, even for health care.” The Coalition has also pushed for a moratorium on new charter schools in Chicago. “On the one hand, CPS want to shut down 129 schools claiming they are ‘underutilized.’ Then they turn around and give those properties away to private charter operators,” said Ald. Munoz. “We need to keep our neighborhood schools open, and we need to invest in them–not sell them off.”

 

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.