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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010)
Mon Feb 15th 2010, 01:32 AM
From the Columbia Chronicle. There are protests in Chicago now over the closing of schools.

Potential school closings, privatizing, lead to downtown demonstrations

Hundreds of displeased people dressed in red gathered in front of Chicago Public Schools’ headquarters at 4 p.m. on Feb. 10 to protest a recent announcement of plans to close, consolidate and phase out several public schools. The crowd was composed mostly of teachers, union workers, upset parents and a few students.
Protestors said they wore red to demonstrate their anger about the proposed plans.

....“They are closing schools without following procedure,” said Caryn Block, who has taught at Haugan Elementary School for the past 21 years. “They are doing this without any thought. They are hurting children, teachers and communities.”

Along with the four schools they are planning to close, CPS officials are planning to consolidate four other schools, turn around five and phase out one school. The purpose of a turnaround school is to bring in new administrators to a school where there are low testing scores and low enrollment.


They could help the schools by giving back some of the funding and resources taken away, but they are closing them instead.....and not following due process when doing so.

Demonstrators also discussed their uncertainties with the way “Renaissance 2010” is turning out. Renaissance 2010 was first proposed in 2004 and the goal was to create 100 new public schools by the
year 2010.

“The problem is the board has been privatizing public schools and giving public funding to private organizations with no proof that there has been any improvement in education,” Moran said.

There are three different types of renaissance schools and one of them is a charter school, which is free from state laws and board policies.

“This is all part of Mayor Daley’s big plan to privatize (public) schools,” Block said. “(Privatization) is not working, but no one is checking.”


More on this topic from the blog of educator Susan Ohanian at Huffington Post.

The Obama Version of Meritocracy

One comment on Krugman's blog makes a point especially pertinent to teachers: Washington works for the bankers, Obama's appeasing those in charge. America is ruled by predators and its citizens are the prey. Shockingly repugnant, but really hard to miss these days.

Likewise, Washington school policy works for the privatizers, and Obama/Duncan appease and promote those in charge. School policy is informed and ruled by predators: children and teachers are the prey. Up to now, it has worked in Chicago, with hardly a whimper of protest, and now Duncan is charged with spreading the Chicago Plan across the nation. The only light in a very dark tunnel is that in the last few weeks, Chicagoans have come out in massive protest at each of the Chicago Public Schools Potemkin hearings on scheduled 2010 school closings under the Daley business consortium plan.

Most people don't know about these protests because Substance News, the Chicago-based education newspaper of the resistance, is the only medium reporting on it.


Only a few bloggers even discuss the topic.

Here is a little from Substance News.

A video of the picket line by Substance reporters John Kugler is available at You Tube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ia2jtbsWYI4...

Guggenheim teacher Kimberly Walls told him their school had the fifth highest reading score in their Area and their attendance is above the 90th percentile. They demanded that the Mayor meet with them within a week. Education hearing chambers — yet another high-powered political player rose up in defiance to the Board's plans to make Bradwell Elementary School a turnaround school that would fire its entire staff from teachers and administrators to cafeteria workers and janitors.

"I am here to respectfully request that you do not make Bradwell a turnaround school," Alderman Sandi Jackson told the hearing officer before a packed attendience filled with yellow-shirted Bradwell children and adults who broke into a loud applause.

..."Bradwell Principal Justin Moore who has only served one year at a school in which test scores have increased, attendance has increased and fighting had decreased to zero would seem to perfectly fit that criteria. However, he is an interim principal, not on contract as the Board stipulates.

Moore pleaded that the Board give him one more year.

"Please give me one more year," Moore said before he wiped a tear away. "Our students have bonded with us. We have a lot of challenges in our community. A lot of our students spend more time with their teachers than their families. Over 200 parents came to our Family Math and Literacy nights. We had a 16% increase in report card pick up. We build it and they come. We will outperform AUSL's Sherman School of Excellence. We will outperform the Harvard School of Excellence. And of course we will outperform the Dulles, Bethune and Johnson (AUSL Turnarounds voted on last year). I cannot be held accoutable for what happened in 2007."


That video is powerful.

I shed a tear with that principal for what is happening to public education.
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