P4T launches school closings accountability line
P4T has set up a School Closings Accountability Call-in Line for parents from the 49 schools that were closed last year to report problems, safety concerns, lack of resources and other issues at the new "receiving" schools their children will be attending this year.
The call in number is 1-773-916-P4T4 (7484).
In a failed effort to bribe parents into supporting the massive round of school closings--the most ever in the nation--CPS offered a slew of new programs, facilities and services to children at welcoming schools.
We'll be tabulating the data we receive about each school and working to hold CPS and the mayor accountable for the harm these destructive policies cause.
Read our fact sheet and parent checklist in English and Spanish, then call us to let us know how things are going at your school this year.
50 schools closed but not without a fight
On May 22, Chicago's unelected, rubber stamp board of ed voted to close 50 schools, despite massive public outrage and numerous reports about the flawed utilization formula, phony community "engagement" process, and dangerous routes children would have to walk to new schools.
P4T fought the closings from the day they were announced and several members were proud to be hauled out of the CPS board meeting after taking a stand in support of parents. We worked with families at Manierre school, which was slated to close, and Lafayette, home of an amazing orchestra and special ed program. At the 11th hour, Manierre and a handful of other schools that had put up a vocal fight won a reprieve and were allowed to stay open--for this year, at least.
The families at Lafayette weren't as lucky, which led the Vega/Ramos family to occupy the school for nine hours, as a CPS moving van waited on the street. P4T and others rallied outside the school, while the parents and three children occupied a classroom on the 2nd floor, demanding that their beloved school remain open. But the police threat--an illegal one--to take their children away forced the family to come out.
As parent Rousemary Vega told board members at the May 22 meeting, "You've done one good thing. You've united us all."
Parents occupy CPS school.
P4T stands with communities against school closings
In response to the city's plan to close 54 schools, P4T took to the streets--and overpasses--in the Loop March 22 to send a message to the mayor and CPS: NO SCHOOL CLOSINGS. Not 50…not 20…not ONE. ZERO!
Banners decked the Madison and Washington overpasses at 90/94 and the Randolph St. entrance to City Hall during the evening rush hour. Cars honked horns in support and passersby stopped to talk about how the city should be supporting our neighborhood schools, not closing them.
Why did we spend a Friday afternoon out in the cold holding banners and handing out flyers? There are a lot of reasons:
- 50 school closings will wreak havoc on our entire school system and our city.
- The school closing agenda is based on lies and a blatant disregard for the facts. If CPS used a smaller class size and made the legally required adjustments for special ed classrooms, few schools would be labeled under enrolled.
- School closings disproportionately impact low-income children of color, whose communities are already reeling from violence, unemployment and lack of resources. The families and children that need the most, get the least.
- CPS is opening new charter schools—at taxpayer expense—at the same time it’s closing neighborhood schools. The real agenda here is to break the teachers’ union.
- These actions will put thousands of children in danger due to neighborhood violence.
- One man and his hand-picked board of ed should not wield unchecked power over the lives of our children. Mass school closings put thousands of children in harms way.
This is our school system, our city. We all have a stake in this. We all need to fight back.
City-wide Save Our Schools Rally
If you’re concerned about quality education for ALL of Chicago’s children, please attend the city-wide rally on March 27. Bring your children, your family and your friends.
Wednesday, March 27
50 W. Washington
P4T seeks independent probe of school closing process
P4T has filed a complaint with the CPS inspector general asking for an independent investigation of the CPS school closing process, a process that has been plagued by misconduct, misinformation and conflicts of interest.
We announced the complaint at a press conference, joined by parents and community members from schools at risk of closure--and parents from well-resourced schools that aren't. It was an inspiring show of unity. Thank you to everyone who participated. Let's keep up the momentum as we move into the next phase of this battle to save our neighborhood schools.
press release and the complaint. And check out some of the coverage:
School closings panel has conflicts of interest, group charges
, Chicago Sun-Times
Community groups: Inspector General should investigate closings, Catalyst Magazine
Our kids are more than a score
CPS pushes ahead with massive school closings
Parents at 35 schools Wednesday kicked off a petition drive demanding that CPS reduce the amount of standardized testing in our classrooms—and eliminate the high-stakes attached to those tests for students and teachers alike.
Parents fanned out during morning drop off and afternoon dismissal collecting hundreds of signatures to go along with the 2,700 plus signatures an online petition garnered in just the first week.
The petition drive is the work of More Than a Score, a new coalition of parents, teachers and community organizations that have come together to improve learning in our schools. Founding members of the coalition include, Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), Parents 4 Teachers, Illinois Raise Your Hand and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).
Sign the online petition or, even better, print out the pdf and take it to you school to get signatures. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on how to turn them. This is a great way to talk to parents and organize in your school.
CPS is continuing plans to close as many as 140 schools, despite loud and unanimous opposition from parents, teachers, and students across the city and, apparently, its own "independent" school utilization commission.
The commission appears to have concluded that CPS doesn't have the capacity to carry out massive school closings without disastrous effects. But we didn't need former ComEd CEO Frank Clark, chair of the new commission, to tell us that.
Ask any parent, student or community resident impacted by last year's 17 "school actions." CPS still doesn't know--or won't say--what happened to the 7,000 students impacted last year.
Are they attending the new school CPS assigned them? Did they drop out? How are they doing academically and emotionally?
A preliminary list of targeted schools is expected Feb. 13.
Everyone concerned about quality schools for our children needs to express outrage at the goings-on, corruption, conflict of interest and misinformation surrounding these decisions. We need to fight for our schools and demand an immediate moratorium on all school closings, turnarounds or phase outs.
Become informed. Read the P4T factsheet, The Truth About CPS School Closings.
Attend the CPS school closings hearings. Two are being held in each CPS network area. Schedule is here.
Organize parents in your school and build alliances with your teachers. We're all in this together.
Elected school board campaign presses on
CODE--the city-wide coalition pushing for an elected school board--continues it campaign to replace the current appointed school board with one elected by the people across Chicago that the schools serve.
We've been conducting meetings with legislators through out the fall and winter and will continue as the Spring legislative session kicks into full gear. The people have spoken--87 percent of voters in 327 precincts approved the elected school board referendum on the ballot in November. It garnered nearly 66,000 votes in 35 wards across the city.
But this won't be an easy battle. Every senator and representative in the state Capitol to needs to hear from their constituents. Call, write, email, visit and call, write, email and visit again. It's that important.
While the current school board is a rubber stamp for the mayor's agenda of closing public schools and turning them over to private operators, we harbor no illusions that an elected school board is a panacea. Instead, we think it's a necessary first step to making the school board accountable to the people the schools serve--parents, teachers and children across Chicago.
Join us in our work to put the public back in public education. Email email@example.com to get involved.