The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district is reportedly looking to “turnaround” three elementary schools, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has learned.
According to a release from the union, the district wants the controversial Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a school turnaround contractor, to manage Ronald E. McNair, Dvorak Technology Academy and Walter Q. Gresham elementary schools next school year. The Chicago Board of Education, whose president David Vitale previously served as AUSL's chairman, will reportedly vote on the proposed school actions at its monthly meeting in April.
If CPS' actions are approved, employees at the schools will be fired and replaced.
According to the union, African-American educators represent 52 percent of the staff at McNair, 70 percent of the teachers at Dvorak and 65 percent of the educators at Gresham. More than 97 percent of the students at these schools are African-American and 98 percent are low-income.
In its release, the union noted that the three schools are under-resourced and serve a number of students with special needs.
"The use of high-stakes standardized tests to measure performance is not only disingenuous but absolutely outrageous given the social metrics involved," the union stated.
CTU President Karen Lewis issued the following statement about the reported potential turnarounds:
In the face of the largest school closing in U.S. history, CPS will terminate educators and staff at three predominantly African-American elementary schools and disrupt the lives of hundreds of our students. This is the mayor’s continued war our schools and older black educators. This is nothing more than school closings by another name. After closing 50 schools, now we find three campuses more on the chopping block while the mayor continues his televised propaganda campaign of promoting these disastrous policies.
Parents, community members and educators continued to be united in our fight for the schools our children deserve. Today’s surprise announcement is a slap in the face to those of us who are attempting to negotiate for more resources, collaboration and support throughout our district. We also continue to question the conflicts-of interest between the Board of Education and the privately managed AUSL which is being recommended for the proposed turn around.