CHICAGO (WBBM Newsradio) — The Chicago Teachers Union delivered a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at City Hall on Monday, offering advice for interim Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, and calling for a halt to planned school closings.
Standing with supporters outside the mayor’s office, CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said he’s met with Jackson, and the union wants her to succeed.
“What we’re asking is that this mayor give his new CEO a chance to actually do what’s right in terms of education policy,” he said.
Sharkey and CTU political director Stacy Davis Gates said plans to close some high schools in minority neighborhoods violate teachers’ contract language prohibiting the closure of schools that meet graduation requirements.
“You cannot close 50 schools, and turn around in a few years and close more. NTA [National Teachers Academy] did what it was supposed to do, yet it is on the school closings list. Englewood needs resources, yet is on the school closings list,” she said.
CPS officials previously said the schools likely would not meet those requirements next year. Teachers said, given adequate resources, they would.
Sharkey said, the current CTU contract says there should be no school closings until the last two years of the contract, or if schools fail to meet graduation requirements. He said the schools slated for closing now are doing their jobs.
“Cut-and-dried contract violations produce legally binding results in front of administrative law judges. So we’ll see what happens there. I would hope that – rather than having to go all the way through a court process, though – they’d just recognize what’s actually in plain writing, and do the right thing,” he said.