It occurred to me today that school closings are like Chicago’s version of the Iraq war. It’s not an indictment of the violence that is sure to come or the total ignorance of believing you are helping the Iraqi people or the students no matter how much they fight you. The thing that strikes me as so similar is that now that we’re in the middle of things, we still don’t know why we’re doing it. Once the WMD excuse fell apart, the White House kept trying new reasons to justify what they did. Once we learned this wasn’t going to save money, CPS did the same thing. Somehow, this is for the children. Somehow, this will make things better. Except, it won’t. Sadly, I expect us to be in the same spot 10 years later too.
These are the days I hate my blog. There is so much wonderful stuff happening today with students, teachers, the CTU, and community activists saying, “No closings!” I am going to miss some of it. I wish I would get every significant story of the evening. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll even come close.
“The defendants have used various shifting criteria that they allege to be race neutral but that always have the effect of singling out poor and marginalized African American children to bear the educational and human costs of the closings,” the suit states.
For instance, when asked, “With whom do you side in debates over improving public schools?,” 55 percent of black voters said the Chicago Teachers Union. And 5 percent said Mayor Emanuel.
“And, as always, this no-comment fact. Lafayette School’s string orchestra, a 10-year partnership with Merit School of Music combining general education and special education students, will be dismantled and the students divided between two schools.”
“”That is a kid’s facebook page from the school my kid is supposed to go to once his school closes, a kid from the welcoming school.” This mother took a short breath before continuing, “It’s a hit list. Once any of those kids crosses the street that divides the neighborhoods, they will be killed. My child is one of these kids in this picture.” I’m not even five foot three, and this mom was smaller than me. She looked up at me with misty eyes, her voice trembling slightly as she told me, that her child is being targeted for murder.”
“When your policy goals can fit onto a cocktail napkin or matchbook, you never have to worry about breaking a campaign promise and isn’t that refreshing?”
“The Walton family, the richest family in America and heirs to the Walmart fortune, have given millions of dollars to initiatives which strip money from public schools, including nearly half a million dollars in support of Chicago Public Schools’ proposed school closures. Meanwhile, in 2012, the family spent $3.8 million—more money than they spent in any other city—opening new charter schools. The vast majority of the schools closing in Chicago serve low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, leaving many of these areas without neighborhood schools.”
“This is a 25 minute video of the walk a family will have to take when their neighborhood school, Fermi is closed. It is directed and research by Joshua Marburger and filmed by Amy Diamond. The video is shot in silence to protest the silenced voices of the community in the Chicago Public School hearings.”
Students wore mock-bloody clothes in an effort to show the effect they believe school closings will have: more violence and death for the young students forced to cross new gang territories.
“The message is that school closings are killing people,” Ginsberg-Jaeckle said. “Everyone knows what will happen when these kids start crossing these gang lines.”