You probably heard yesterday that the school district plans to close, co-locate and turnaround 70 schools this year. Your sisters and brothers in the CTU will stand tall with you during these difficult times. You have newly won rights in this situation, and our field staff will help you assert them, should the need arise.
The CTU will continue to fight any and all school closings or other actions that displace our members and harm the education of our students. We are planning a mass rally on March 27th, we are developing legal challenges to these closings, we will continue to pursue legislative action, and we will continue working with our members and community to build a mass movement to stop this massive privatization drive. Rahm Emanuel and his handpicked Board of Education are attempting the largest mass school closing in the history of the nation—but the mayor is more vulnerable now than ever, thanks to the strength we have all built together with parents, students and community.
We have the momentum, for the first time:
- Thousands of people came out to public hearings to reject school closings over the last month.
- The public knows CPS is lying about the budget and underutilization because they are:Rahm hopes to project strength with these closings because he is actually weaker now than ever.
- expanding charters
- inflating the deficit
- creating $1 billion more in liability, by CTU estimates, if they actually do what they promise (hardly likely) and install air conditioning, provide sufficient security, and adequate social supports to the receiving schools, and
- they will increase class size, not decrease it.
- Black aldermen and legislators are finally waking up to the realization that this will have a devastating impact on their communities.
- The newspapers are actually covering the educationally damaging and discriminatory impact these closings will have on Black students, special needs students, and low-income communities.
- Our members are united like never before. We held a packed House of Delegates meeting on school closings just last week. 250 people have agreed to be arrested onMarch 27th and schools are ready to take the next steps.
Everyone knows the closings will increase the violence and harm the academic opportunities for our children. CPS has even adopted military planning strategies for these closings. They mean to make war on our neighborhood schools. It seems that Rahm is more committed to a high “body count” of school closings than helping our communities survive and thrive.
What can we do?
- Know your rights – in the event that the school does close you should be aware of what your rights are.
- The March 27th Rally is essential. It is one of best chances to show how strong and powerful we are. If we flood the streets with thousands, surround City Hall, take hundreds of arrests and express a booming rejection of these harmful, undemocratic policies, we have a fighting chance.
- Take home all your parent phone numbers over the break and get them to come out on the 27th and to a future meeting to fight the school closing.
- Come to the Bank of America action tomorrow, Saturday 3/22/13, to make them give $36 million back to CPS for rip off loans since 2008 — this money, if returned, could keep all our schools open and then some.The training and action is from 10am to 12:30pm tomorrow at 2229 S. Halsted.
We must prepare for a big confrontation. Power concedes nothing without a fight; it never did and it never will. The future of our public schools and the well-being of our students are in jeopardy. This is a critical battle and your union is with you 100%.
Please contact Lupe Coyle if you would like to schedule a meeting with members from your school during Spring break to meet with an organizer or field representative. We will get back in touch with you as soon as possible to schedule a day and time.