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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
5:58pm
Fri Mar 22, 2013

Low-Income & Homeless Students Stand To Lose The Most From CPS School Closures

The same week Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced it will close a record-breaking number of schools at the end of the school year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released a report revealing increased instances of homelessness and poverty amongst Illinois’ students.

Nearly half of Illinois’ approximately 2 million students qualify as low income, increasing from 37.9 percent to 49 percent since 2008, according to the ISBE.

“Research tells us that children in areas of concentrated poverty often experience higher levels of stress and can exhibit more severe behavioral and emotional problems than children overall,” the report reads. "These difficulties often impact a child’s likelihood of success in school, leading to lower achievement scores and higher dropout rates."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:52pm
Fri Mar 22, 2013

Ames Middle School Students Hold Peace Assembly

About 80 students at Ames Middle School in Logan Square participated in a student-led peace assembly yesterday afternoon in order to promote ways to diffuse violence and empathize with others who may have stressors in their lives that affect how they behave.

Students took part in various activities and role-played different violence-prevention scenarios. At the end of the assembly, students released white balloons, symbolizing freeing themselves from something that makes them angry.

“We are letting those things go, so they don’t control us anymore,” one student said before heading outside to release his balloon.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
8:40pm
Thu Mar 21, 2013

Chicago Teachers Union, Advocates Speak Out Against School Closures (VIDEO)

Standing outside one of the schools slated for closure, Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis had heated words for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Board of Education today.

Today, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released a list of 61 school buildings that will be closed. Six of those schools will be turned around while the other 54 will be shuttered outright. Eleven schools will be consolidated.

Calling the school actions a “travesty” and an “abomination,” Lewis called Mayor Rahm Emanuel “cowardly” and said he “should be ashamed of himself.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:22pm
Thu Mar 21, 2013

Neighborhood School Advocates Serve School Board Members With Suspension Notices (VIDEO)

In the wake of an announcement that some 50 schools will be shuttered across the city, approximately 70 protesters visited the homes of three Chicago Board of Education  board members this morning to push back against the actions.

Accusing them of “bullying” parents, students, teachers and the community, members of Action Now, some of which have children and grandchildren enrolled in CPS, left “suspension” notices on the board members lawns.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:15pm
Thu Mar 21, 2013

How The School Closure Moratorium Bill Got Kicked Down The Road

A bill to put a to put a temporary moratorium on school closings advanced in the Senate Education Committee Tuesday, however it was “shelled” and all language was stripped out, according to a spokeswoman for Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago), the legislation’s chief sponsor.

The bill, SB 1571, was changed because the votes in the committee weren’t all there for its approval and its language needed to be strengthened.

Lawmakers were also feeling the heat of getting bills out of committee by this week’s deadline, the Associated Press reported.

Stacy Davis Gates, legislative and political director for the Chicago Teachers Union, which sent members to Springfield to testify on the moratorium’s behalf, said stripping the language was a “legislative maneuver,” because if it stayed in committee, it would be dead.

“The biggest part is it’s alive,” she said. “Had everything stayed in as is, it probably wouldn’t have gotten out.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
1:54pm
Thu Mar 21, 2013

North Lawndale Stakeholders Release Alternative Plan To School Closures (VIDEO)

A coalition of North Lawndale leaders and education advocates released an alternative plan to school closings today, including a comprehensive community strategy to provide wraparound services and capacity building for schools targeted for closure.

The meeting at the Better Boys Foundation comes a day after news leaked that the Chicago Public Schools has plans to close 50 schools, which would be the largest round of schools closed at one time in the nation.  WBEZ is also reporting that additional schools may be turned around to address low performance.

It’s rumored that CPS could release the names of those schools slated to close today.

“There were 12 schools on the list for North Lawndale that were slated to be closed as of yesterday,” said Valerie Leonard, with the Lawndale Alliance and a member of the ad hoc Committee to Save North Lawndale Schools. “We understand that this list could change today. We understand that principals are being notified as we speak as to whether or not their schools are on the list.”

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