Mayor to close all Englewood high schools – leaving currrent students to scramble for seats in other schools next fall
CHICAGO, November 30, 2017—The Chicago Teachers Union learned today from members that CPS is moving to close all four Englewood high schools. CPS has scheduled early morning meetings at Hope, Harper, Team Englewood and Robeson. The CTU also learned today that CPS has approved the Distinctive Schools charter proposal, which seeks to take over Hirsch High School in Greater Grand Crossing.
“This is one more maneuver in the effort by Mayor Emanuel and his cronies to push out Black working class families in Englewood and across our south and west side neighborhoods,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey at a press conference Thursday afternoon. "We need – and we demand – investment in sustainable community schools, instead of the disinvestment, neglect and dismantlement of treasured community anchors like these schools on Rahm's hit list."
Next fall, students currently enrolled in the targeted Englewood schools will NOT be attending Emanuel’s promised new high school, which has yet to break ground. They will instead be 'invited' to attend school in Gage Park, Hyde Park or whatever other high school they can scramble to get into next year.
In community meetings -- part of CPS' community 'consultation' process -- CPS touted the new Englewood school as a vibrant new option for Englewood high school students. Teachers have called that ‘consultation’ process a sham.
“Emanuel and his hand-picked school bureaucrats sold this proposed new Englewood high school on the basis of a lie,” said Sharkey. “In a classic bait-and-switch to gin up support, CPS dangled the new school as an option for current Englewood high school students -- a claim that was flat-out false.”
Teachers are equally appalled by CPS’ move to approve Distinctive Schools' charter proposal to 'co-locate' in Hirsch high school. Distinctive Schools executives have been connected to a controversial charter operator, Edison Learning. Distinctive's executives also left one Delaware school district over ten million dollars in the red, and were subsequently fired by another school district in Florida. The CTU and Harper community residents currently have a formal complaint before the CPS Inspector General that extensively documents that Distinctive Schools is for profoundly unfit for ANY role in Chicago’s school system.
“Our members are the backbone of our schools -- and our fight against school closings and charter operator expansion is far from over,” said Sharkey. “These racist policies are deeply unpopular, and the Mayor is politically vulnerable on this issue. We will continue to fight against both these school closings and ANY additional school closings, as well as any and all charter operator expansion -- including charter expansion into Hirsch. And we're renewing our demand for an elected representative school board. There should not be ONE SINGLE school closed while our city's residents are denied the elected, representative school board we have demanded for years. We deserve responsible, democratic oversight of our schools -- not the autocratic control of Mayor Emanuel's political insiders, who 'govern' for the benefit of politically connected contractors, charter operators and developers.
CTU staff will be traveling to meet with members in the impacted schools beginning on Friday. There has been NO official layoff notice sent out yet. Under the CTU contract, teachers laid off through school closings go into the CPS reassignment pool, with one year of pay and benefits – and the union will fight for jobs for all potentially displaced members.
The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctunet.com.