Citywide People’s School Board Meeting Tonight!, March 8, 2013, over announced closing of 80 schools

Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), a coalition of 26 community and labor organizations in Chicago, is holding a People’s School Board Meeting in response to the CPS commission’s recent announcement that 80 schools can be closed. The event will be held this evening, March 8th, from 6-8 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago.

The People’s School Board Meeting will be a city-wide forum where parents, students, teachers and community members will testify against school closings and charter expansion, as well as develop a plan of action to save neighborhood schools and create an Elected School Board.

“The People’s School Board Meeting is being held to defend our children and schools by taking back decision-making power from the Board of Education. Parents, teachers and students are in these schools everyday and we know what it takes to improve our schools. GEM has developed a sustainable model of community-based school transformation, but CPS refuses to listen. Enough is enough. We refuse to beg any longer,” said Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now.

The Grassroots Education Movement (GEM) is committed to democratic principles in the governance, pedagogy, and culture of our public schools.

GEM is calling for a Board of Education that:

– Puts children first – all children

– Listens respectfully to students, parents and teachers

– Supports community-based school improvement

– Is accountable to public school families and children

GEM believes that every child has a constitutional civil and human right to a high quality, equitably funded, public education based on the following:

1. Participatory democratic principles,

2. Community empowerment,

3. A challenging comprehensive and enriched curriculum,

4. Respect for cultural diversity,

5. Universal Human Rights.

Visuals: 200 people expected to attend and a People’s School Board made up of community members will speak. Parents and community members will testify as well. There will be a large banner that says, “ZERO SCHOOL CLOSINGS” along with a map that clearly shows the correlation between “underutilization” and the expansion of charters.

Members of the Grassroots Education Movement include: Action Now, Albany Park Neighborhood Council, Blocks Together, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Teachers Union, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Chicago Teachers Solidarity Campaign, Grassroots Collaborative, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Northside Action For Justice, PACE, Parents 4 Teachers, PEACE, People for Community Recovery, Pilsen Alliance, SEIU Local 1, SEIU Local 73, Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, Stand Up Chicago, Southside Together Organizing for Power, Teachers For Social Justice, UNITE Here Local 1, VOYCE