CTU Plans Protest Against School Closings

The Chicago Teachers Union, which has become Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s number one nemesis, is planning a rally against his Board of Education’s decision to close 54 schools -- and against plans to close any more, or convert them to charters. 

"Scores of parents, students, teachers, public school employees and community residents are gearing up for the next stage in their fight," the union said in a statement. "While the District contemplates how many neighborhood schools they will shutter this year, taxpayers who have had enough of these top-down, draconian measures are strategizing about how to elevate their voices in the school closing fight."

Chicago Public Schools students on Monday marched to City Hall in hopes of stopping the district from closing the schools. Since CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced the closures last week, parents, teachers and community activists have protested the city's move to shutter and consolidate the schools.

One student taking part in Monday's protest said she is upset her old elementary school, Jungman, is on the list to close.

"So many students go there, and it's a really great school," Carezy Ramirez said. "They shouldn't close it down."

Another student worries how the closings will affect violence in communities where gangs remain an issue. "I think that this is going to cause a lot of problems in communities where gang violence and other factors play a huge role in education," student Israel Munoz said. 

The CTU's anti-school closings march and rally is expected to be an even bigger outcry. It is planned for 4 p.m. Wednesday at Daley Plaza, where demonstrators will gather before marching to City Hall and the Board of Education.

CPS, in a statement, said Byrd-Bennett knows how difficult consolidating schools can be but insists the goal is to provide quality education.

"By consolidating underutilized schools we will be able to redirect those resources and move children safely to a higher-performing welcoming school that has all the things parents, teachers and CPS agree students need to thrive and succeed, such as a library, air conditioning, upgraded computer and science technology, and counseling and social support."
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