Following the teacher strike last August, Chicago is now bracing itself for a large, potentially disruptive demonstration involving acts of mass civil disobedience against the largest proposed round of school closures in recent memory. This is from the Guardian…
The city last week announced plans to close 54 schools affecting more than 30,000 students, primarily in low-income black and Latino areas. The proposals, which had already sparked huge, rowdy protests at hearings throughout the city before the announcement, mark mayor Rahm Emanuel’s second major confrontation over education in less than six months, following the teacher strike in late August.
The Chicago Teachers Union, which emerged with considerable public support last year after it blunted Emanuel’s attempts to tie teachers’ pay to test scores, has pledged to engage in a campaign of non-violent disobedience to oppose the closures.
“People who work in the schools and rely on public schools will oppose the mass closings by any and all peaceful means,” CTU vice-president Jesse Sharkey told union members recently. “[School closings] are not something we are prepared to accept without a fight … We’re going to take this fight as far as we have to to defend our community schools.”
Union insiders say that depending on the response to the demonstrations, occupations of schools and walkouts could follow. CPS has provided principals with a guide on how to handle civil disobedience and to report the names of any teachers and students involved in protests.