Ministers, Community Leaders Petition For School Turnaround Plan

CHICAGO (CBS) — Another side is weighing in on the Chicago school system’s plan to fix some failing schools.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, a group of ministers and community leaders brought petitions with 15,000 signatures to City Hall Tuesday.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

But unlike some recent protesters who oppose the school turnaround plan, the ministers and business leaders who came to City Hall said they don’t think it is aggressive enough.

“We have a failed school system, and to do the same thing over and over would be egregious and atrocious, and just downright insane,” said the Rev. Ira Acree.

Melinda Kelly, executive director of the Chatham Business Association, says her members would like to hire Chicago Public Schools graduates.

“But hiring locally is impossible for a small business when Chicago schools are stuck in a state of perpetual failure, and are not producing literate employees for small businesses to use in their business,” she said.

On Monday, a group of parents marched from Lake View High School to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswood neighborhood home, protesting against the turnaround plan.

They said the Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago School Board are making decisions about school closings and teacher layoffs without consulting the schools or talking to parents.

But the group that came to City Hall Tuesday said the parents who oppose the turnaround plan are pawns of the Chicago Teachers Union.

CPS chief executive officer Jean-Claude Brizard announced in December that he had asked the Board of Education to close Simon Guggenheim Elementary School, at 7141 S. Morgan St. in the Englewood neighborhood, and Florence B. Price Elementary School, at 4351 S. Drexel Blvd. in the North Kenwood neighborhood.

Targeted for phase-outs are Dyett High School, at 555 E. 51st St. in the Washington Park neighborhood, and Richard T. Crane Technical Preparatory High School, at 2245 W. Jackson Blvd., on the Near West Side. Phase-outs mean the schools would not admit any new freshmen and the school would shut down once the last class of existing students graduates.

Ten more underperforming schools are scheduled to undergo a “turnaround,” in which their principals and entire staff would be replaced. Those schools are:

• Amos Alonzo Stagg Elementary, 7424 S. Morgan St.;
• Wendell Smith Elementary School, 744 E. 103rd St.;
• Pablo Casals Elementary School, 3501 W. Potomac Ave.;
• Brian Piccolo Elementary Specialty School, 1040 N. Keeler Ave.;
• Theodore Herzl Elementary School, 3711 W. Douglas Blvd.;
• Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School, 4444 S. Evans Ave.;
• Melville W. Fuller Elementary School, 4214 S. St. Lawrence Ave.;
• Marquette Elementary School, 6550 S. Richmond St.;
• Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School, 4747 S. Union Ave.;
• Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School, 2100 E. 87th St.

  • tom sharp

    As I’ve stated elsewhere, Da Ex-Mayor spent $millions in most, it not all, of these schools when he took over them in the 90s. In some case whole new buildings were constructed. He fired 100s of teachers at least half of the principals in these schools (often replacing the latter with political patronage pimps), then changed the curriculum, etc. Now Rahm acts like nothing has happened there! The only thing that hasn’t changed is the ghetto kids and their loser or non-present parents. In short, the problem is social, not educational. You can put Golden Apple teachers and award winning principals in all of these schools and little if anything would change. This has been proven out by the utter failure of Daley’s plans and will be proven out again by Rahm; unfortunately at the taxpayers’ expense.

  • Valerie F. Leonard

    Follow the money trail and see where it leads.

  • saywhat3

    Melinda Kelly says south side businesses can’t find qualified CPS graduates to employ. I challenge her to show us those jobs!

  • Parents, Teachers To School Board: Vote No On School Overhaul Plans « CBS Chicago

    […] But not everyone is against the plan. A group of pastors came to City Hall Tuesday in support of the… […]

  • windy pearson

    I Am no one pawn, I have never met with the president of the teachers union. I Am not getting paid but I do know the conditions that exist at Herzl should you ask any of these preacher if they have gone to any of these schools and met with the parents, teachers, janitors,etc they haven’t ask them if they know who sits on the board of this contractual company and who theses people are giving money to they won’t be able to answer ask them if there kid attend public schools. “Ask them if there doing anything beside standing in there pulpits excepting grants from the city Valerie’s right follow the money some of these same preacher have teacher in the congregation paying into the collection plate. The people need to call the wolves out that pretend to walk in sheep clothing.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live