PSAT for 3-26-13: Get out your comfortable shoes

psat_logoTomorrow is the big one, the citywide action against school closures. Our friends at the new Network for Public Education wrote this list of actions to take, which really sums it up:

  • If you are in the Chicago area, attend the march and rally in downtown Chicago at 4 pm on Wednesday, Mar. 27 at Daley Plaza, Clark and Washington Streets. Details here.
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs to hear from us. He is on Twitter at @rahmemanuel. Mayor Emanuel has a City of Chicago feedback form where you can leave  a message.

march3-27-13Here’s what I tweeted to Mayor Rahm: “Your school closings rhetoric is a sham. Take responsibility for neighborhood schools, don’t close them.”

You can retweet that if you follow me @pureparents.

Here’s what I wrote on the City Hall feedback form:

You recently said that the pain of the closings doesn’t compare to the anguish of “trapping” kids in failing schools. But it’s you who run these “traps.” It’s your appointed school board that makes all the major decisions about these “traps.” It is you, Mayor Daley, and the appointed school board who have failed year after year to give these “traps” the resources they need to educate children. We need better leaders for our schools, not more empty buildings in decimated neighborhoods. Community based school improvement through local school councils and an elected school board will save our schools.

Here’s what I e-mailed to Barbara Byrd-Bennett:

You are a real educator, which we hope generally informs your decisions. However, your track record as a Broad trainer makes it clear that you were brought to Chicago not to raise the quality of education but to do just what you are doing – close large numbers of schools. The Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education, a large group of your educator peers, just released a fact sheet showing that school closings:

  • Have a negative impact on children’s academic performance.
  • Have not resulted in the savings predicted by school officials.
  • Exacerbate racial inequalities.
  • Contribute to increased violence.

Let this be one of the times when you make choices based on real education research, and not on the demands of corporate education reform politicians.


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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
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.