Chicago School Closure Protests Head Into Third Day
After two straight days of organized protests around Chicago, teachers, parents, and students are expected to continue marching today against the city school system's plans to shutter up to 53 elementary schools at the end of the academic year.
The Chicago Teachers' Union and other activists helped organize the three days of protests against the closures, which the city board of education is set to vote on this Wednesday. The union has been stridently against any of the slated closures, and last week it filed two federal lawsuits on behalf of parents alleging the district's plan discriminates against black students and special education students.
That news came on the heels of recommendations from hearing officers—who were hired by the school district—that 13 of the schools on the closure list not be shut down because the receiving schools for those students are no better. Local polls have also found a majority of city residents oppose the plan—which would amount to the single largest shuttering of public schools in a major U.S. city.
And the school district took another big blow over the weekend in a Chicago Tribune story that revealed that district officials may have selectively used data to justify their closure decisions.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said that closing the schools is necessary to address a $1 billion deficit.