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Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
7:32pm
Tue Feb 17, 2015

Stamps Centers Campaign Around Education In Chicago's 37th Ward Race

Community activist Marion Stamps fought for the rights of public housing residents displaced by the demolition of the Cabrini Green housing development on the near North Side when she ran for 27th Ward alderman in 1995.

Twenty years later, her daughter, Tara Stamps, is fighting in that same vein, but focusing her fight on education. She is among four challengers, including Leroy Duncan, Maretta Brown-Miller and Otis Percy, running against West Side Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) in the February 24 municipal election.

The 2013 closing of 50 Chicago Public Schools, an influx of charter schools, and excessive red light and speed camera fines are examples of the failed policies that have led to disinvestment in black and Latino neighborhoods, according to Stamps. The time was right, she added, to stand up against such actions.

"While I still have my mother's passion, and I share many of her beliefs about community, this fight is my fight," said the mother of three and teacher of 18 years. "It's authentic to me because I understand how all of this is connected to education."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:32pm
Mon Oct 13, 2014

Chicagoans Push For Ward-Level Ballot Referendums On Elected School Board (VIDEO)

Although a citywide advisory referendum asking Chicagoans whether they support switching to an elected school board has been crowded off the ballot for a third time, education activists have a backup plan.

Parents, teachers and community groups are banding together to place a separate, non-binding question about an elected Chicago Board of Education on the February municipal ballot in each of the city's 50 wards. The coalition, which is unhappy with the policies endorsed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handpicked school board, officially launched their ward-level referendum drive on Monday.

"While the mayor makes his moves by squashing democracy and disrespecting parents, we will make our moves by knocking on doors and by giving the people [the ability] to do the one thing the mayor's afraid of. We are going to give people the chance to vote for an elected school board," Action Now's Executive Director Katelyn Johnson said at the referendum drive's kick off, held in front of Ronald E. McNair Elementary School in the city's Austin neighborhood. (Back in April, the Chicago Board of Education voted to "turnaround" McNair, which involves firing and replacing all school staffers, to improve its academic performance.)

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:03pm
Wed Sep 24, 2014

Chicago Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Stages Sit-In At Mayor's Office (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

More than 50 Chicago education activists escalated their fight late Tuesday afternoon to save Bronzeville's Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of this academic year.

Protesters chained themselves together and staged a sit-in outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office on the fifth floor of City Hall to demand equity for the 13 remaining seniors at Dyett.

The Chicago Board of Education voted to phase out Dyett in 2012 due to poor academic performance, and the school is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

The activists with the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), also urged the Emanuel administration to endorse their community-driven blueprint to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and offer global leadership and green technology classes at the school, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness. Community members have been developing the education plan for several years and formally presented it to the school district at the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting in April.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:33pm
Mon Jun 23, 2014

Report: CPS Closings Limited Parental Involvement, Adversely Affected Children

A new University of Illinois report shows that last year's round of 50 Chicago public school closings has had a negative impact on both parents and students. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the report's findings.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:42pm
Mon Jun 16, 2014

Education Activists Bring Dyett High School Fight To Alderman's Front Door (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

About a dozen Chicago education activists pitched a makeshift campsite outside of Ald. Will Burns' (4th) South Side office Monday morning in protest of the school district's plan to close Walter H. Dyett High School at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Back in 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout and close the Bronzeville neighborhood high school, located in Burns' 4th Ward, due to poor academic performance. Dyett is scheduled to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), are upset with Burns because the alderman does not support their specific proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a open-enrollment "global leadership and green technology" neighborhood high school.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:25pm
Mon Jun 9, 2014

Chicago Education Activists Target Ald. Burns Over Future Of Dyett High School (VIDEO)

Chicago education activists are ramping up their fight to save Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. 

At a news conference at City Hall on Monday, a coalition of parents, students and South Side community leaders blasted Chicago Ald. Will Burns (4th), whose ward includes Dyett, for not supporting their proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment, neighborhood high school. Toting signs reading "Stop disinvesting in black children," members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School called the alderman's lack of support for their community-driven, academic plan "disrespectful" to the families who live near Dyett and accused Burns of "ignoring" the needs of neighborhood children.  

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