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Parents, students, teachers to denounce Emanuel’s latest wave of school closings, charter expansion

Students protest Emanuel's school closingsPress conference: 9:30 AM, Wed., Dec. 6, 2017CPS headquarters, 42 W. Madison St., Chicago

Proposed next wave of privatization schemes, consolidations, school closings is part of Emanuel’s war on low-income people, particularly in city’s Black and Latinx neighborhoods, say critics.

CHICAGO—Parents, students, teachers and members of grassroots groups will join State Rep. Sonya Harper at 9:30 AM on Wednesday at a press conference in front of CPS headquarters to denounce the plans of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked school board and executives to close schools serving Chicago’s Black and brown students. Members of those school communities will also be speaking at CPS’ monthly board meeting, scheduled to start at 10:30 AM Wednesday at CPS headquarters. 

Students and parents from schools that include Hirsch, Harper and other Englewood schools on Emanuel’s school closures list will attend, as will parents and supporters of top-performing NTA, and supporters of public schools in the Little Village community. Harper students staged a walkout to oppose their school closing last Friday. Hirsch students were prevented by CPS officials from staging a walkout on Tuesday, the day before Wednesday's scheduled board meeting.

Emanuel’s school board is being asked on Wednesday to rubberstamp the placement of a charter school in Hirsch run by controversial SUPES-linked charter operator Distinctive Schools, whose top executives were fired by a school district in Florida and ran a Delaware school district deeply into the red. The project is a longstanding effort by Emanuel ally John Hannah, who served on the mayor’s school closing commission, and is also closely linked to current CPS board member Mahalia Hines, who voted to close 50 CPS neighborhood public schools in 2015.

Emanuel is also recommending closing all of Englewood’s neighborhood public high schools, including those impacting residents in Rep. Harper's district, in a scheme that would lock those students out of a proposed new high school in the neighborhood. And CPS is also recommending closing high-performing NTA to make the space available to a new school in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, over the passionate objections of parents, students and school community members.

Community residents and teachers have condemned this latest wave of school closings and privatization schemes as an extension of Emanuel’s war on residents of the city’s Black and Latinx neighborhoods, whose kids are often forced to travel long distances to schools – and shoulder those extra costs.

Emanuel's embrace of charter proliferation and chronic school underfunding has undermined enrollment and funding at public schools across the city, hitting hardest at schools that serve Black and Latinx students on Chicago's South and West sides.

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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.

Chicago Teachers Union