CHICAGO (CBS) — Demonstrators staged a Martin Luther King Day protest outside a public school in the Marquette Park neighborhood on Monday to speak out against planned changes in the Chicago Public Schools system.
The protest that started outside Marquette Elementary School at 6650 S. Richmond St. was mainly over CPS plans to “turn around” 10 under-performing schools. The move would mean all teachers and staff at those schools, including Marquette, would be fired and replaced by teachers trained by a politically-connected non-profit group.READ MORE: Police Surround Apartment Of Barricaded Subject In Villa Park
Teacher Gale Harris took part in the demonstration, even though she doesn’t teach at any of the schools on the hot seat.
“This is all about money, all about who has the power. It’s about the union busting and this has to stop,” Harris said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
Chicago Teachers Union organizer Alex Gonzalez Guevara said Monday’s protest was in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who marched against housing inequality in the Marquette Park neighborhood in 1966.
Marquette teacher Marcy Hardaloupas would lose her job in June in the turnaround at Marquette and said, “It’s not fair, because I know these teachers. I’ve taught with them 20 years and, even the new ones, they’re good teachers. You know, they care about the kids, they stay after school, they work before school.”
Turnaround schools are in line for a lot of extra money from the Chicago Public Schools system. Hardaloupas asked why that money couldn’t have been available beforehand to try to improve conditions at the school.MORE NEWS: Cook County Opening Free Shower Facilities In 3 Forest Preserves To Dixmoor Residents
The school board is scheduled to make its final decision on some proposed “turnaround” schools, including Marquette, on Feb. 2.