Community vs. community on Near South Side as parents, students and teachers fight school closure
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) today issued the following statement regarding Chicago Public Schools plans to close the National Teachers Academy (NTA) elementary school programs, transfer its students to a new South Loop School in the 2018-2019 school year, and convert the existing building into a new high school:
“The Chicago Teachers Union supports well-resourced school communities that help our students pursue their dreams and open doors, but we know far too well that school closings can lead to feelings of abandonment and a loss of learning. The teachers and staff at National Teachers Academy not only provide stability in their students’ lives—many of whom have experienced the trauma of having their former community, the Harold L. Ickes Homes, bull-dozed—but also create classroom spaces where students can connect with one another, process their experiences and help make decisions about their communities.
“The administration’s rush to couple new facilities with political calculations geared toward the 2019 municipal election continues a terrible track record of backroom deals and little to no transparency. While we recognize and support the need for neighboring communities’ wishes for a local high school, we now have a situation where multiple schools and communities are pitted against each other for limited resources.”
At a recent union meeting at NTA, CTU President Karen Lewis listened to educators' pleas of solidarity for their struggle and called on parents, teachers and supporters to attend a town hall event at the school tonight at 5 p.m. at 55 W. Cermak Road.