Hundreds of public school teachers and their supporters took to the streets yesterday to protest Chicago’s school consolidation plan, which will close 54 of the city’s public schools.
The demonstration was non-violent, but more than 100 protesters were escorted away by police. Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears to be holding his ground, saying that the time for negotiations is over. The Board of Education votes on the plan in late May, and it’s expected to pass.
Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis joins Starting Point today to discuss the measures the city is taking to address their budget shortfall and to explain why she opposes closing the schools.
“Changing children from one building to the next is not going to ensure that their education is going to be that much better,” Lewis says. “Where we have a problem is that you cannot just pick a number out of the sky and this is the number of schools we’re going to close. Mayor Rahm Emanuel went around town talking to anybody who would listen to him that he wanted 50 schools closed… I’m telling parents to take control of their school. We have local school councils. The whole purpose is so we can have local control of school and that has been usurped for mayoral control.”