Mayor’s school plan shortchanges Black and Latinx students - again.
“This is not an education plan – it’s an election plan,” says CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey at public hearing.
CHICAGO, July 19, 2018—Parents and community residents told dozens of stories of need and neglect tonight at CPS capital plan hearings, including at Malcolm X college, where public sentiment overwhelmingly opposed CPS’ proposed capital plan. Even speakers whose schools received some funding told of even greater unmet needs.
CTU members testified tonight at all three of the board’s simultaneous capital budget hearings, where community residents complained that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s capital budget shortchanges South and West Side schools with overwhelmingly low-income Black and Latinx students. At Malcolm X, a contingent of Spanish-speaking parents from Belmont Cragin complained that Emanuel’s unsolicited new school for the community would further undermine neighborhood schools that had been starved of resources for years.
“This budget disproportionately funds school construction on the north side and in gentrifying neighborhoods,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “Schools that serve predominantly white students get twice the capital funding in this budget per pupil that Black and Latino students get. CPS says its projects are distributed across the city. That might be true, but a high school getting the internet is not the same as getting an entire new school.”
Emanuel’s 2018 plan disproportionately funds construction in north side and more wealthy, gentrifying neighborhoods.
“CPS needs a long-term facilities plan for high-quality neighborhood schools that support working class neighborhoods, which are struggling today in Chicago,” said Sharkey. “We need a plan for racially diverse open enrollment schools. Instead, Rahm Emanuel has a plan for us – and it’s not an education plan. It’s a re-election plan. CPS has built charters throughout the Southwest Side and created magnet and classical schools, while high quality neighborhood schools have struggled for funds. That has a racial element to it.”
Ten percent of Chicago’s public school students are white, and their schools will see close to $2,800 per pupil in investment. Schools serving the nearly 40% of students who are Black will get less than half that, and schools serving majority Latinx students, who make up over 45% of the student base, will get even less.
“The parts of our school system that have been getting investment are the parts of our school system that disproportionately fund middle class people and are disproportionately white,” said Sharkey. “That has to stop. We call for the political leadership that can change this, and that means a new mayor and an elected school board.”