Mass protests hit Chicago over school closures
On Wednesday Chicago will see a mass rally, led by the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), to protest the planned shuttering of 54 elementary and middle schools before the next school year. Critics of the closures have pointed out that the vast majority of schools targeted (50 are on the West and South Sides of Chicago) provide for black and Latino children. While only around 40 percent of children in Chicago are black are Latino, 90 percent of children whose schools will be shuttered are black or Latino.
“The only thing that’s like it is Hurricane Katrina,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey of the potential devastation, “except this is being done on purpose.” The closures will affect 30,000 students and around 1,000 teachers. Labor Notes' Samantha Winslow explained that "the union opposes what leaders call a 'manufactured crisis': a series of intentional policy decisions to underfund public schools while boosting charter schools. Once public school enrollment drops, the board can close public schools and justify charters." Winslow reported on the mass rally planned for Wednesday afternoon: