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Over 800 at Fulton Network Closings Hearing

by Martin Ritter, CTU Organizer  |  02/27/2013

On Tuesday February 26, I attended the CPS Fulton network school closure meeting. There was such an awesome turnout from CTU members and parent allies!  Over 800 attended and called out CPS leadership over and over for their illogical plans to close neighborhood schools.

Each school showed by both paper presentations and amazing testimony the incredible work they do every day in their schools. Many schools brought gang maps to show how fragmented the area is related to gangs and turf and to highlight the fact that CPS leadership doesn’t understand this issue or doesn’t seem to care. Schools that specialize in special education were well organized, especially Near North SPED, Montefiore, Peabody and Lafayette.

Meeting attendees gave a standing ovation to Javier Villagomez, a seventh-grade student with autism after his tearful appeal to the CPS committee. Lafayette even brought their school orchestra to demonstrate how amazing their school is.

Heated testimony by Aldermen Fioretti, Burnett, and Ervin said no charter schools should open while neighborhood schools might close. Even Alderman Solis (the founder of UNO) demanded that all CPS schools in his ward stay open. This show of power and solidarity was a direct result of organized CTU political activity by rank-and-file members who attended ward night events recently, and also organized parents to make phone calls and demand that these elected officials fight with us for the schools our children deserve.

Chicago Teachers Union