In Chicago, the corporate reformers who claim to be leading “the civil rights movement of our time” are closing down schools in black communities. How this enhances the civil rights of the children is a mystery known only to the elites.
This is a news bulletin from the Chicago Teachers Union about tomorrow’s protest demonstration:
March 26, 2013
Secret Memo: CPS warns principals about possible civil disobedience in response to massive school closings
School officials asked to spy on demonstrators, take note of media
CHICAGO – The day before educators from the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) intend to join with parents, students, clergy, community leaders, civil rights activists and the rank-and-file members of SEIU Local 1 and Unite HERE Local 1; the union released a confidential memo sent to the city’s public school principals warning them of potential civil disobedience actions in protest of school closings. Mayor Rahm Emanuel will seek to shutter more than 50 neighborhood schools in the African American community by the end of this school year.
Thousands of parents, students, teachers, paraprofessionals and school clinicians attended various hearings across the city where they presented evidence that their schools were not being “underutilized” and begged for them not to be closed. Despite the outcry, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) chief executive listened instead to a politically-connected, ad-hoc commission she created and has since recommended 61 school actions, including the closings. Should the Board approve, this will be the largest closing of schools in a single school district in the nation’s history.
CPS’s announcement was met with shock, outrage, disbelief and defiance. While many of those impacted have vowed to fight until the end to save their neighborhood school from closure, others plan to rally downtown on Wednesday, March 27th, to illustrate their demand for education justice. People will gather at 4 p.m. at Daley Plaza where they will proceed to City Hall and to Board of Education headquarters.
Preparing for what could be the spark of 21st century Civil Rights Movement in Chicago, the school district recently instructed principals to prepare for the worst. “Be approachable and supportive to feelings of unrest, anxiety or dissatisfaction” the secret memo read. “Observe and report all information regarding possible protestors, locations, dates and times… Is the media present? Which news outlet(s)?”
The CTU obtained the memorandum from a source who has requested anonymity for fear of repercussions. “They’ve asked us to do a lot of things that I’m not happy with, but some of this is going too far,” the person said.
CTU President Karen Lewis, “Why are they asking principals to work as agents of this administration when they are the ones who have created a climate of chaos? Civil disobedience is a direct response to unjust policies and practices. We intend to use whatever nonviolence protest actions we have in this fight for education justice.
“The bottom line is the schools targeted for closure are based on the racial makeup of those schools and their zip codes,” Lewis said. “We will continue to plead our cause, fight in the courts and in the streets for what is right for our students and our communities. They can start with a moratorium on all school actions now.”
The Chicago Teachers Union represents 30,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third largest teachers local in the United States and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at http://www.ctunet.com .