Chicago closing 61 schools, angry teachers union to hold protest rally

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Chicago, IL, United States (4E) – Chicago’s parents, teachers and some aldermen are up in arms Thursday when school officials announced that 61 low-performing and under-utilized school buildings will be shutdown to cut cost.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) defended the move citing a $1 billion deficit facing City Hall next year.

A woman whose grandchildren are studying at the Anthony Overton Elementary in Bronzeville, which is among the schools to be closed, expressed anger over the move as they will lose a family school and the students will be displaced.

An estimated 30,000 students are affected by the closure. They will have to transfer to other schools far from their neighborhood.

Eight alderman whose wards are targeted for closure complained that the lives of affected African-American and Latino students and their families will be disrupted.

The Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) lambasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is vacationing in Utah. CTU president Karen Lewis called CPS officials and the mayor “cowards and bullies,” according to CBS Chicago.

In a press statement, Lewis said the closures are unnecessary and will not save money, but rather students’ safety and academics will be put at risk as they lose three to six months of learning.

The union said members will march in protest to the school closures on March 27.

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