A lot of the media has been reporting that yesterday’s rally downtown had 700-900 protesters at the rally downtown yesterday. I can’t blame them for spinning things too much as this was the number that the Chicago Police Department released. The Chicago Teachers Union has claimed 4,000 – 5,000. I can’t be exactly sure, but police offers who were actually at the rally as well as journalists who were there said 900 was way too low. I would say the consensus was somewhere in the 3,000 range. However, a lot of people went to the rally after wok and it continued to grow as it went along. The CTU number may be a bit high, but I think it’s a lot closer than the CPD number. The number is important because it shows just how bothered this city is by the closings and how willing its residents are to fight, but it’s definitely not the whole story.
“More than 3,000 teachers, parents, students and other citizens rallies and marched against school closings in Chicago on March 27, 2013, and 129 were arrested during civil disobedience to protest the largest number of public school closings in U.S. history, according to a number of Substance reporters and other sources who were present at the events.”
“CPS is promising more resources for what they’re calling the “welcoming” schools—iPads and social workers and paint and books. Isn’t that lovely, you guys? And every student will ride a unicorn to school, over rainbows that help them skirt the rival gang territory.”
“Most frighteningly, studies of prior school closures in Chicago have found increased levels of violence in the neighborhoods surrounding receiving schools. These research findings would not come as a surprise to the students at the schools slated for closure. Dozens of their older brothers and sisters spent the first day of their spring break protesting, hand-delivering a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office that warned of the dangers their siblings will soon be facing.”
“Chicago has the chance here to become to incarceration what Silicon Valley is to micro chips. Best of all, the private prison industry is growing almost as fast as the charter school movement hence our politicians will still have a steady source of campaign dollars. “
“The district insists that the current spate of closures is necessitated by declining enrollment, but plans to open new charters are continuing full-steam ahead. Charter operators like the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), for example, a close ally of Emanuel that runs 13 schools in the city and recently caught flak for giving millions in publicly funded contracts to executives’ close friends and family like a kind of 21st century patronage organization, was awarded a $98m grant from the state of Illinois in 2009 and recently applied for $35m. The network has big plans to open new schools in the near future, amassing huge amounts of debt (serviced with public money) to fund its expansion.”