Menjiwei Latham said it’s been “horrible” looking for the right
school for her special education student in the Chicago Public Schools
(CPS) system. Her 11 year-old son, Paki, who has been diagnosed with Fragile X
Syndrome (FXS), was placed in two special education programs before he
found his place at Mahalia Jackson Elementary School.
few people understand the unique characteristics of her son’s genetic
condition that causes intellectual disability and behavioral and
learning challenges. But his teacher at Mahalia Jackson was able to
boost Paki’s functioning abilities from a kindergarten level to a 2nd
grade level in just two years, growth he didn’t experience at any other
“He’s seen wonderful progress here (at Mahalia Jackson),”
Latham said. “He’s reading sentences, he’s completing worksheets, he
never did any of that before and it’s really exciting.”
Parents and South Side residents called the Chicago Public Schools’
plan to shut down 54 schools at the end of the year a violent and
disrespectful act during the second and final community meeting
regarding the closure of Miriam G. Canter Middle School, located in the city's Kenwood community.
officials at Friday night's meeting dodged most of the frustrated community
members’ questions, saying they were there to listen and that all public
comment would be provided to CPS Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
fact that you cannot speak back to us when we’re coming to you on our
hands and knees to beg for our damn school, it’s outrageous,” said Hyde
Park resident Jill Petty.
Members of Action Now and the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) protested outside of the Chicago Urban League Thursday, demanding its leader and Chicago Board of Education member
Andrea Zopp sit down with them and examine the civil rights impact of
They also called on Zopp to support a one-year
moratorium on the Chicago Public Schools’ recent round of proposed
school actions and work with them on a sustainable education
“Civil rights organizations are supposed to
work with the community organizations and the people on the ground to
get clarity on what is happening in our neighborhoods so that their
advocacy is in touch with our daily lives,” said protestor Cathy Dale, a
Local School Council member at Mollison Elementary and King College Prep.
For the past 100 years, Delano Elementary
has been a staple in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, but its
teachers may be fired at the end of the year and the school turned into Melody Elementary as part of the Chicago Public Schools recent round of actions to address school utilization.
CPS’ plan, once Melody students and staff relocate to Delano’s
building, the new school would offer air conditioning in every classroom, a library,
an upgraded computer lab and iPads for students in 3rd through 8th
grades, among other facility and capital improvements.
Side Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) said CPS officials didn’t have the “decency
or courtesy” to offer any additional academic enhancements at the new
school, such as a STEM or fine arts program. The only academic
enhancement, he said, is an iPad.
“An iPad is a dime a dozen,”
Ervin said at the first of three public meetings last night on the
proposed school action. “More kids got iPads than adults
As Congress works toward the final stages of an immigration reform plan, a new issue brief from the Center for American Progress explores how immigration and the growing Latino population could impact the future political landscape in key states.
Immigration issues among Latino voters were crucial in swinging the 2012 presidential election.
the rapid growth and voting power of the Latino population also ensured
key swing states such as Florida, Colorado and Nevada voted for the current Democratic president, according to the brief.
Key states such as
Arizona and North Carolina are also reaching demographic tipping points that could shift the states reliably blue, said Philip Wolgin,
senior policy analyst for immigration at the Center for American
“These are states that are becoming swing states in a
way that I think nobody really envisioned would have happened in the
past,” he said.
Members and leaders of three unions representing workers in the Chicago Public
Schools (CPS) system criticized the city’s recent round of school actions in a joint
report issued Tuesday, saying school closings hurt children,
struggling neighborhoods, and working families.
They’ve called on the Chicago Board of Education, CPS and Mayor Rahm Emanuel not to close any schools.
schools are supposed to create strong neighborhoods,” said SEIU* Local 1 spokeswoman Izabela Miltko. “We
all believe that Chicago needs to protect and invest in its children and
not tear apart communities, tear apart schools.”