Last night over 200 people lined the streets of downtown Chicago to protest the proposed actions for Chicago Public Schools. The CPS Board has decided to phase out or transition 20 neighborhood schools. The Chicago Teachers Union, along with parents, teachers and community organizations from around the city held a vigil/protest outside the CPS Board offices on Clark St.
The Pilsen Alliance was present in solidarity with the families trying to keep these schools open. The vigil turned in to an overnight camp and earlier today the many that stood overnight were first in line to comment in the CPS Board meeting. Unfortunately the meeting got so heated that the Board decided to move to a closed session. As one Chicago Tribune article reports, “After several interruptions, board president David Vitale abruptly closed the meeting and the board followed him off the floor. Before he left, Vitale told the crowd that he hoped they’d “gotten it out of their system,” prompting more jeers. “We need you out of our system,” one man yelled back.”
The CPS Board is not elected by the people, it is appointed and is headed by members who have little to no background in education. Prominent studies show that charter schools do no better and sometimes worse in standardized testing compared to public schools in surrounding areas. Logistical cost in closing schools runs in the millions of dollars, money that can be used to improve neighborhood schools.