Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Karen Lewis: School Closure Plan Racist, Classist And Unnecessary

Chicago Teachers' Union gears up to fight school closings




    The Chicago Teacher's Union didn't mince words in reacting to the possible closure of 54 Chicago Public Schools.

    "Our mayor, who's away on a ski trip, drops this information right before Spring Break," Lewis said at an afternoon press conference outside Mahalia Jackson Elementary School on the city's south side. "This is cowardly and it's the ultimate bullying job. Mayor Rahm Emanuel should be ashamed of himself."

    Parents React to School Closings

    [CHI] Parents React to School Closings
    Word begins to leak out about the CPS schools slated to close, which a lot of parents aren't happy about. (Published Thursday, March 21, 2013)

    She called the proposal "racist" and "classist" and said it would send the "school district into utter chaos."

    "We are looking at murdering jobs, we are looking at murdering schools and we've got a murder problem in the city," said Lewis.

    Englewood Parents Protest CPS School Closings

    [CHI] Englewood Parents Protest CPS School Closings
    A parents group called Action Now marches on a CPS board member's home to protest school closings. (Published Thursday, March 21, 2013)

    Lewis said no decision-makers were at the public meetings held over the past few months to discuss the school closings. She says much of the problem lies with the school board, which needs to be made up of elected, not appointed representatives.

    "All of this stuff is done under the cloak of darkness without transparency," Lewis said.

    CPS Chief Talks Promises After School Closings

    [CHI] CPS Chief Talks Promises After School Closings
    Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, addresses major investment plans for schools receiving students from schools on the final school-closings list. (Published Wednesday, March 20, 2013)

    The union contends the closures aren't necessary and won't save any money while putting "students' safety and academics at risk."

    "We know that when schools close, children lose three to six months of learning. This is a real problem, and it doesn't seem they have taken this into consideration," Lewis said,

    The CTU plans to hold a rally and march on March 27 to protest the closings.

    CTU President Karen Lewis Responds to School Closings