Despite protests and heartbreaking testimony from parents, students and teachers, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close 50 elementary schools in some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods.
May 23, 2013

After Chicago Public Schools received millions in billionaire bucks from the likes of Betsy Devos, the Bradley Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell foundation, they made the brave decision to shut down 50 public schools in areas where students most desperately need the safety of a neighborhood school.

It's always awesome when those with power stomp on those with the least ability to defend themselves, isn't it?

Via All In with Chris Hayes' blog:

Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Board of Educationvoted to close 50 reportedly “underutilized” schools—49 elementary schools and one public high school—in what was the largest round of school closures to ever occur in a single American city.

The board approved the school closures of the objections of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), as well as many parents and local community activists. Earlier this week, CTU led thousands of Chicago residents in a three-day series of protests against the closures. Opponents of the closures say that they would put children at risk by uprooting them from their learning environments and, in some cases, may require that they cross gang lines in order to get to their new schools.

Protests continued throughout the Board of Education’s deliberations, both inside and outside Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters. At several points throughout the meeting, protesters were escorted outside for exhibiting unruly behavior.

Fifty-four schools were originally up for closure, but CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett withdrew her recommendation to close four of those schools the day before the Board of Education vote. CTU president Karen Lewis said sparing those four schools was “a good start, but it’s not enough.”

Here are some tweets I saw from people at the protest in real time Wednesday afternoon:

The first tweet was particularly poignant for me. What they have done here is closed the schools where children need them the most. Those kids will now have to cross gang lines to get to school. That bulletproof vest question isn't entirely facetious when you consider it in the context of little kids having to get across gang territory to go to school.

So now those kids are dealing with poverty, more difficulty and risk getting to school, and once they get there they're expected to achieve on some superhuman level when taking stupid standardized tests.

AFT President Randi Weingarten predicted disaster for these kids:

“Separate and apart from what it means for the continuity and stability of children’s schooling, the evidence makes clear these mass closings will destabilize neighborhoods, and it has raised serious safety concerns for children in a city where there is already too much violence. “We are left at a loss as to why the board chose to ignore the parents, teachers, students and residents of Chicago in pursuing this reckless strategy that is not what the people want and will not help children."

But you see, Rahm doesn't work for the children. He works for the billionaires, and the billionaires are still piqued over last year's teachers' strike. They're looking for a nice big urban district to privatize. Who better than Rahm to accomodate that?

It's truly sickening. Those teachers the wingers call socialist thugs are the very same teachers who used themselves as human shields to protect kids during the tornado in Oklahoma, and the Newtown shootings. They're always heroes until it comes to things like paying them or improving the schools where they work. Then they're thugs, and the kids they protect are 'takers'.

The repercussions of this act will resonate for years and generations to come, and not in a good way, either.

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