Posts Tagged ‘Public Schools Action Tuesday’

PSAT for 5-21-13: Do what you do to stand up to the school closings

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

psat_logoEveryone can do something.

Today PURE held a press conference with six child mental health experts who spoke out about the damage the proposed school closings may do to children, giving their professional backing to what parents, teachers, students and others have been saying over and over for the past few months. We faxed 11 powerful statements from those six and others to the Board of Education members this morning .

You can share these excellent resources with your networks. They need to be in the hands of parents, teachers, and other public school advocates wherever corporate reformers are moving to close big numbers of schools.

I was also able to speak out on Channel 2, the local CBS station – not sure when today it will air.

Lots of folks have been marching all over the city, making connections among all the schools threatened with closure. Many more are planning to be at the Board of Ed meeting tomorrow to make some noise as the decisions are made. You can be there.

You can start calling the Board of Education number now – 773-553-1600. If you’re not sure what to say, read any of these excellent articles that detail the many ways that CPS and the Mayor have lied about the schools. You’ll be inspired.

Do what you do, and what you can do. Just do something.

PSAT for 2-12-13: Stand strong

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

psat_logoThe message from CTU President Karen Lewis is simple but powerful – “Stand strong.”

And parents, teachers, students and community advocates from all over Chicago are doing just that.

CPS and its Walmart sponsor are trying to wear us down. They’ve tried the classic CPS Board meeting strategy – hog the public’s time with Power Point propaganda. Minimize the space available so that the huge turnouts aren’t so obvious and people are split up into focus groups where they can’t hear or offer support to other schools. Keep people out completely, as they tried to do last night in Logan Square, or threaten them with arrest for leafleting outside of these public hearings.

Thousands turned out for the “FIRST ROUND” of 10 hearings under the Barbara Byrd Bennett appointed, Walmart-sponsored, charter school connected commission.

Then CPS stepped in and has been running their own “SECOND PHASE” hearings, consisting of two meetings in each of the 14 networks, for a total of 28 hearings. The second round of these network hearings begins today (see list below). Byrd-Bennett will release a preliminary closing list tomorrow.

It makes me tired just writing about it. Yet people keep coming out and fighting, and it is making a difference.

So, stand strong. Don’t give up. Tell the world what is happening in Chicago. It matters.

  •  2/13/2013: Austin-North Lawndale, 7-9 pm, House of Prayer Church of God in Christ, 3535 W. Roosevelt Road (NEW LOCATION!)
  • 2/14/2013 Lake Calumet 7:00-9:00pm Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn
    2/16/2013 Ravenswood-Ridge 11:00-1:00pm Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson
    2/18/2013 Englewood-Gresham 7:00-9:00pm Liberation Christian Center, 6810 S. Ashland
    2/19/2013 Burnham Park 7:00-9:00pm St. Anselm Church, 6045 S. Michigan
    2/20/2013 Skyway 7:00-9:00pm South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. Shore Dr.
    2/21/2013 Pershing 7:00-9:00pm Fuller Park Field House, 331 W. 45th St.
    2/23/2013 O’Hare 11:00-1:00pm Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett
    2/25/2013 Rock Island 7:00-9:00pm Woodson Regional Library, 9525 S. Halsted
    2/26/2013 Fulton 7:00-9:00pm First Baptist Congregational Church, 1613 W. Washington
    2/27/2013  Garfield-Humboldt  7:00-9:00pm  Mt. Vernon MB Church, 2622 W. Jackson
    2/28/2013 Fullerton 7:00-9:00pm Armitage Baptist Church, 2451 N. Kedzie
    3/2/2013 Midway 11:00-1:00pm Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski
    3/4/2013 Pilsen-Little Village 7:00-9:00pm Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western

PSAT for 9-25-12: Protest Walmart!

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

I already forgot my new strategy to call for some boycott or action against a corporate reformer on the first Tuesday of every month, but it’s my blog and I figure I can go after WalMart any time I want.

I have close relatives who work at WalMart and they have been able to build a pretty nice life. I have even been known to go to WalMart once in a blue moon and (also rarely) to order from Walmert online because they usually have the cheapest item of a set of choices. But I’m going to stop doing that for good.

After seeing the “Teachers Rock” infomercial for Teach for America and the “Won’t Back Down” movie, heavily promoted by WalMart, I really have had it with them.

You don’t have to go that far if you don’t want to. Here’s something real and simple that you can do to tell WalMart that we don’t accept their vision for our country, our schools, or our children and families.

I received this message from Paco Fabian of Warehouse Workers for Justice:

This past week, Walmart warehouse workers went on strike in Elwood, IL, to protest wage theft, discrimination, and retaliation against those that spoke out demanding more respect.

Walmart warehouse workers endure extreme temperatures, inhale dust and chemical residue, and lift thousands of boxes weighing up to 250 lbs. with no support. They never know how long the work day will be—sometimes two hours, sometimes 16 hours. Injuries are common, as is discrimination against women, and illegal retaliation against workers who speak up for better treatment.

That’s why I started a petition to Walmart, demanding changes in their warehouses.

Click here to sign the petition supporting Walmart’s Illinois warehouse workers.


–Paco Fabian

This petition is looking for 10,000 signers and already has over 8,000. For Public Schools Action Tuesday, let’s help them out in honor of our public schools!

PSAT for 8-7-12: Boycott Hyatt for public education

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

A recent article by Chicago Teachers Union staff coordinator and activist Jackson Potter inspired me to renew my call for the use of boycotts to fight corporate school reform.

Jackson has always been one of the few who share my belief in the powerful impact a boycott can have on the fat cats who fund and direct corporate school reform.

Boycotts used to succeed or fail based on the economic impact they had on the corporate bottom line but that’s really not how they have worked for a while.

I have in mind the kind of boycott that targets a company’s public image. It works because a lot of corporations consider good deeds to be simply one aspect of their advertising program. They don’t want any bad advertising or other bad karma associated with their product.

I know this is true because I cut my organizing teeth on PURE’s Walgreen’s boycott back in 1993.

Jackson led some Chicago GEM folks in a picket of McDonald’s back in 2009 to protest the fact that the CEO of McD’s chaired the Renaissance 2010 Fund. The action drove a McD’s PR man out to Hyde Park to see what was going on. This stuff scares them.

Anyway, while I have sporadically suggested going after folks like Bill Gates’ and his image as a great, big-hearted do-gooder, and others behind the attack on public education – United Way, Eli Broad, Robin Steans, BP, Ford, Hewlett, Philip Anschutz, the Koch brothers, Searle Freedom Trust, and on and on, I am going to begin today to pick on someone icky for the first PSAT of every month. And, yes, I will give you at least one idea about what to do to help with this school reform-related boycott.

So – our inaugural PSAT Boycott of the month award goes to my favorite icky person, billionaire Chicago Board of Education member Penny Pritzker.

And here’s what you can do. Of course, stop stay8inbg at Hyatts, if you ever did.

And come early to Hyde Park tomorrow for the Parent-Teacher forum and join folks at the site of the new Hyatt Hotel which is being built courtesy of TIF money that ought to be going to our schools. The demonstration is sponsored by the Chicago Teachers’ Solidarity Campaign.

Meet up at 53rd and Lake Park at 5:30 pm this Wednesday Aug. 8 and then come on over to the forum at the United Church of Hyde Park down the street at 53rd and Blackstone, which starts at 6:30.

PSAT for 8-30-11: Fight flunking!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011


We’re still waiting to learn the results of the federal investigation into our December 2010 Office for Civil Rights discrimination complaint against Chicago’s policy of flunking students based on their state test scores, and now another round of flunking is going on.

It’s likely that OCR is giving the new Brizard administration time to respond to the complaint, but meanwhile there are now thousands more children facing the first day of school with a sense of dread and failure thanks to this horrible CPS policy.

Parents are telling us that the appeal process is nothing more than a school official repeating the test score back to you. They’re right.

We know that flunking students usually doesn’t help them, and often harms them. We know that the policy has been costing upwards of $100 million per year, money that would be better spent lowering class size or using other reform strategies that actually work.

For Public Schools Action Tuesday today, please reach out to any parent of a retained student or simply share this information with your networks. Tell parents of affected children that they can contact PURE for assistance, or simply file a complaint with OCR themselves at this link. They can reference PURE’s complaint number #05111064 to incorporate the information and concerns we provided into their own complaint.

Let’s continue to fight this costly failure of a policy – TIME TO FLUNK FLUNKING!

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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.