rahm-emanuel

Chicago students march on City Hall, call school closings racist & dangerous
March 26, 2013

Calling school closings “racist” and saying they could lead to “children dying,” dozens of students held a march Downtown Monday to protest last week’s announcement that 54 schools would close.

Declaring themselves the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, they marched from Chicago Public Schools headquarters to City Hall to deliver a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel demanding a moratorium on school closings and a publicly elected Board of Education.

“We represent the thousands of students in Chicago Public Schools that will be directly affected by school closings,” the letter stated.

Closings would lead to “more violence and more children dying,” as students walk to school across gang boundaries, the letter said. It said low-income African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods were unfairly targeted by the “racist decision” to close schools.

Although most of the two dozen students were high-schoolers, and no high schools are slated to be closed, they said they were speaking for younger students without an established voice.

“We are united and we are fighting for public schools,” said Israel Munoz, a senior at Kelly High School.

“It is our responsibility to stick up for them,” added Malachi Hoye, a senior at North Grand High School.

“As a student from Englewood, I can speak firsthand to the danger that lies ahead if these schools are closed,” said Brian Stirgus, a senior at Robeson High School. He said his elementary alma mater, Banneker, was being closed to merge with Mays Elementary Academy. The two schools, he said, are on opposite sides of Halsted Street, a gang boundary in that area. “Why potentially put kids in more danger?”

Isis Hernandez, an eighth-grader at Stowe Elementary, said her school had avoided the closure list, but “it’s not just about my school. It’s about saving all our schools.”

She said the closings would have a dramatic impact on neighborhoods. “This means more abandoned houses and more families moving away,” Hernandez said, adding, “We have the same right to a decent education as a rich kid.”

The letter was accepted by a representative of the mayor, but otherwise the Emanuel administration did not respond.

Munoz emphasized it was the group’s first action and that it is intended to grow and to give students a united voice.

“I think a student voice is something that really needs to be addressed right now,” he added. “It’s something that CPS and the Board of Education and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have not really attended to.”

“This is out first action, but it won’t be our last,” the letter concluded. The group announced their plans to take part in Wednesday’s protest organized by the Chicago Teachers Union at 4 p.m. in Daley Plaza.


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A fight against school closures is also happening in Philadelphia, where the School Reform Commission recently voted to close 23 schools, disproportionately affecting black & Latino students. 

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

—  Xian Berrett, “Why I’m Striking”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel,

We are the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools. We are a student-led organization fighting to save our schools.

You have not done enough to help our schools!

We represent the thousands of students in Chicago Public Schools thatwill be directly affected by school closings.

These closings will force us to cross gang lines that will result in more violence and more children dying. This is unacceptable. Almost every school that will be closed is in a Black, Latino and low-income community; this is a racist decision. This is unacceptable! And we, the students, have had enough!

We demand:

1) An immediate moratorium on all school closings;

2) A better way to use the TIF funds and to actually be used for our schools;

3) And an elected school board

We expect to hear back from you soon. If not, you should expect that we will be back! This is our first action but will not be our last. This is our school, and we are taking it back!

Sincerely,
Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools

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54 Chicago schools are slated to close. 90 percent of students at closing schools are black, even though they make up only 40 percent of Chicago students. 

chiteacherx.blogspot.com
Teacher X: Why I'm Striking, JCB

When you make me cram 30-50 kids in my classroom with no air conditioning so that temperatures hit 96 degrees, that hurts our kids.

When you lock down our schools with metal detectors and arrest brothers for play fighting in the halls, that hurts our kids.

When you take 18-25 days out of the school year for high stakes testing that is not even scientifically applicable for many of our students, that hurts our kids.

When you spend millions on your pet programs, but there’s no money for school level repairs, so the roof leaks on my students at their desks when it rains, that hurts our kids.

When you unilaterally institute a longer school day, insult us by calling it a “full school day” and then provide no implementation support, throwing our schools into chaos, that hurts our kids.

When you support Mayor Emanuel’s TIF program in diverting hundreds of millions of dollars of school funds into to the pockets of wealthy developers like billionaire member of your school board, Penny Pritzker so she can build more hotels, that not only hurts kids, but somebody should be going to jail.

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Close corporate tax loopholes, not public schools
April 2, 2013

Chicago public schools are facing a $1 billion deficit. The corporate media would like you to believe it’s due to excessive spending and that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to close more than 50 schools, most of them in low-income neighborhoods (mostly black & Latino), is the only solution. But the state of Illinois loses $4.8 billion annually in federal tax dollars due to corporate tax loopholes that shift profits overseas. It doesn’t take a math genius to see that simply closing these excessive loopholes would save the schools that so many kids in Chicago depend upon for their education.

These corporate tax loopholes cost us over $100 billion a year in federal tax dollars, which results in state and local budget cuts and tax hikes due to a decreased allocation of federal funds. The corporations most known for complex offshore tax avoidance schemes get these loopholes by spending millions on hiring armies of lobbyists and in campaign donations to chairmen and ranking members of tax-writing committees in Congress.

The lobbyists submit draft paragraphs of new gimmicks and loopholes to those committees. The campaign donations continue to flow toward reelection campaigns with the understanding that those who are making the donations get what they want out of their sponsored politicians. Thanks to this corrupt process, the tax code grows longer and more complex year after year, the most recent version topping out at roughly 72,000 pages.

There is already legislation on the books in both the House and Senate to close most of these loopholes and rein in roughly $60 billion a year. A small sales tax on Wall Street transactions would raise roughly $150 billion a year, more than enough to offset the cuts that are closing 50 schools. These aren’t radical solutions; they’re based on the simple premise that if you hire Americans, sell to Americans, use American public services and infrastructure and make the bulk of your profits in America, you should pay the American corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

Ever since Brown vs. Board of Education, there has been a coordinated right-wing attack on free education. The latest plot is an attempt to close public schools and turn them into low-performing, for-profit charter schools funded by Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers. The attempts to do this are disguised as “reform,” but are really little more than an effort to bust teachers’ unions and cede public education over to the authority of big corporations.

Public schools to educate our children aren’t a burden to the state, they’re an investment. If you want more kids to grow up into responsible, successful adults who contribute to our society, and if you want lower crime rates and prison populations, investing in good public education makes sense. We need our kids to help row the canoe down the river, not throw them out while ignoring the gaping hole in the boat. It’s time to stop making our kids pay for their crisis.

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Read the statement from the Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools to Rahm Emanuel here.

There’s nothing like the dedication of the child of an immigrant. They know in their DNA that they’re here, they’re lucky, and this better not get screwed up, or your parents are going to kill you. That is a gold mine for us – I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
[Rahm Emanuel] and I, when we were in the Oval Office sometimes and the banks looked like they were melting down and the Afghan war is raging and the auto industry is on the verge of collapse [we’d] sit here at the end of the day and we’d have little fantasies about us taking our families and just moving to Hawaii and opening up a T-shirt shack on the North Shore, and we’d just sell T-shirts and maybe smoothies and sit there and watch the waves.
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— President Obama