Parents Protest Plans To Restructure Schools

Updated 02/21/12 – 3 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel shrugged off a school-related protest outside his house Monday evening, saying on Tuesday that he will forge ahead with plans to remake failing public schools across Chicago.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor said he understands the anxiety many parents feel over the proposed changes he wants to make at several public schools, a move that fueled a Monday evening demonstration outside his school.

But Emanuel, whose home was the subject of a residency fight during his run for mayor last year, said remaking failing schools is the right way to go, and he’ll live with the protests.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“There’s nothing more important I can do, both morally and economically, than insure that our school system is giving our kids an education,” Emanuel said. “It’s not so much about showing up at my house. I think we’ve had enough about my residency, personally. And it’s not about my residency; it’s about the residents of the city of Chicago that I care about. It’s making sure that we provide our children an education so that they can succeed.”

The Chicago Board of Education is set to vote Wednesday on a plan to restructure several failing schools. As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, several hundred protesters gathered Monday night outside Lake View High School, 4015 N. Ashland Ave., voicing opposition to those plans.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports

Following a rally outside the school, the parents marched to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home in the Ravenswood neighborhood.

They say both the mayor and the school board are making decisions about school closings and teacher layoffs without consulting the schools or talking to parents.

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.

In an interview on the CBS 2 Morning News in December, Brizard said some schools were beyond the point of being rehabilitated.

“At the vast majority of schools, we are doing that. But there are some schools that are so far gone that you cannot save them,” Brizard said in December. “There’s got to be some hope left in the building for you to be able to turn a school around.”

Chicago Public Schools officials have said they are moving away from a status quo that has failed Chicago students in recent years.

This past weekend, parents at Piccolo held a 22-hour sit-in, in which they argued that test scores had improved, and 84 percent of parents came on report card pickup day, under a new principal. The sit-in ended when CPS leaders promised a meeting with the parents.

  • Chivi

    I know of a teacher/counselor who has taught at almost all these schools. She is a nut case. She has done the dance of the lemons. She is now a counselor in one of these schools. They are under performing because the Union sends all their lemons to teach here. Instead of firing them or suspending them, they go to the underperforming schools. This is why we are so behind and corrupt!! The unions are worried about their fees not their students!!

  • Chivi

    By the way, did you know that the protestors get paid and/or the students get better grades if they do protest? Yes. Everybody gets a cut one way or another. Disgusting!!!

  • Stop wasting time and start teaching!!

    Why are teachers/staff getting paid to protest?? What a waste of tax payer money!!!

  • February 21, 2012 « The Hope Institute News Digest

    […] 2 21 CPS: Parents Protest Plans To Restructure Schools « CBS Chicago Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  • TigLy

    Teachers that are being pressured, and then fired will not be able to teach, so the answer is not to fire them. However, let’s exchange the “good” teachers from the suburbs with the “bad” ones from the city, and see if there is a difference. It’s obvious that chronically unemployed, downtrodden, or overworked parents will have a harder job helping their kids than those with the time, or means to do so.
    In the end the corporatists in their arrogance will never admit when the new teachers “fail” that it was not the teachers fault, but their cheap, selfish selves that are harming the situation even more.

  • Ministers, Community Leaders Petition For School Turnaround Plan | Raw Tab

    […] On Monday, a group of parents marched from Lake View High School to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Ravenswoo… […]

  • Casey

    As long as the mayor wants to fix education “on the cheap” it will not work. What these people want is vouchers so they can send their kids to private schools for free and the rest of us can pay for that. Nobody gives a hoot about the education of a poor inner city child and don’t let anyone of these politicians tell you that they do.

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