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School closings in Chicago coincide with planned wave of union action

School closings in Chicago coincide with planned wave of union action

Yesterday the Chicago Public Schools announced 61 school building closures, including 52 elementary schools, due to a $1 billion budget deficit. This is the largest closing in the district’s history, and the reaction from the teachers union has been swift.

A few weeks ago, noted radical organizer Lisa Fithian was in town training the teachers (perhaps the ones who missed the large teacher training at the Midwest Marxist conference) in nonviolent protest action. Jesse Sharkey, Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union and panelist at the Midwest Marxist conference, said during Fithian’s training:

(School closings are) not something we’re prepared to accept without a fight…Tonight is about us training our people in the methods of non-violent civil disobedience because we’re going to take this fight as far as we have to, to defend our community schools.”

Kyle Olson of Education Action Group, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting education reform, told me that “having Lisa Fithian involved shows how serious the union is at winning. When Fithian’s involved, nothing good will come of it. She’s only about confrontation and clashes with the police. The fact they turn to her shows how radical they are.”

Olson said not only is the district operating as though it has about 100,000 more students than it does, but also “The CTU is using the momentum it gained through the successful strike to stop school closures. It believes it’s developed the support necessary to defeat them. Emanuel should both be seeking salary and benefit concessions and closing schools. He didn’t get concessions – in fact the new contract is costing more – and we’ll see if he actually closes schools.”

An article on EAG reports that many of the district’s buildings are half-empty, and officials say that $560 million will be saved over 10 years, with an additional $43 million/year in operational costs saved, with the closings. From EAG:

The CTU’s hypocrisy is the most sickening part of this entire situation.

Last fall the union went on strike for 10 days, pressuring the school district to cough up an absurdly large 17.6 percent raise for teachers which will cost about $74 million per year. We’re guessing that $74 million would be enough to keep a few schools open.

The union also pressured the district into recalling hundreds of laid off teachers to help cover the extra workload of longer school days that will start next year.

So the union is really good at spending school district money, but not so great at helping city and district officials figure out how to deal with the deficit.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, leader of the strike earlier this school year (and never one to miss an opportunity to use schoolchildren to advance the union), said the following:

These actions unnecessarily expose our students to gang violence, turf wars and peer-to-peer conflict. Some of our students have been seriously injured as a result of school closings. One died. Putting thousands of small children in harm’s way is not laudatory.

A large-scale protect action is planned for next Wednesday. While today, a small group of parents kicked off the protests by pulling the fire alarm at a targeted school in protest.


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legalizehazing | March 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Children leading Children teaching children. Good Americans have Chicago, Detroit, and every Dem/Union infested urban area in their prayers.

BannedbytheGuardian | March 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm

These kids will have to be bussed in somewhere.

Sommawhere a place for them ……….

Juba Doobai! | March 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

I wish I could bring myself to care. The voters of Chicago by their choices, by their refusal to throw out the bastards who have corrupted all their social institutions, have merited this. They wanted the Commies. Well, they have them.

It is pretty amazing when you come to realize that the best things about Chicago are the weather and the traffic.

Henry Hawkins | March 22, 2013 at 8:37 pm


A cow, a gas lantern. . .

No CTU member will lose their job. It’s the CTU’s responsibility to make noise when schools are affected. Please note, the operative term is ‘school’ NOT ‘children’s education’. The latter term is not part of their vocabulary.

stevewhitemd | March 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Some of the schools to be closed are next to next-door to schools that are to stay open. Combining nearby half-empty schools would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately the CTU and the Chicago School Board between them have no brains.

The population base is shrinking in Chicago. Public school enrollment is declining. We need fewer classrooms and schools, and that’s even before one accepts the disruption inherent in the K-12 implosion that will be brought about by new technologies. Closing half-empty schools, combining others, and working to fix up the schools that remain open is just a common sense reaction to demography.

There are legitimate security concerns. How about hiring some of the otherwise unemployed parents to help with that? They could escort kids, set up safe havens at critical street corners, have a hot line to Chicago Police (I know, I know), and so on. They could serve as observers and keep kids safe.

Readers at LI and CI understand that everything the radical Left and the CTU are doing in Chicago has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with themselves, their pensions, and their plans for ‘revolution’.

The only alternative to teacher unions is to pass right-to-work laws.

Here in Texas where right-to-work has long been the standard (even when democrats controlled state government) there just are no teacher strikes or strikes by most other entities as well.

The ONLY way to ever affect a cure is to seek, identify and attack the root cause of the issue…

Compulsory education is a big part of the problem. Having children captive allows the progressive-socialist to try to influence the thinking of children too immature to defend themselves. This was a problem in the Soviet Union: if you tell your children about being Christian too soon, they might spill the beans. If you wait too long, they will hustle to spill the beans. Teachers are interested in protecting teachers and their jobs.

Interesting that Holder and the DOJ are arguing against a German family seeking asylum because they want to home school their children. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany.

It makes complete sense to shut down many of these schools, layoff some staff and retool for a small population. But, by far, the best part of this whole fiasco is the fact that Mayor Tiny Dancer has been out in Utah skiing this whole time. Some people are losing their minds over this and TD is no where to be found. It’s a delight to see the Machine Media wonder aloud “help us Tiny Dancer, you’re our only hope”.

Illustrating Chicago’s Murders, Homicides, Violence and Idiocy at

Just more political confetti to confuse and disorient. Little Napoleon has no intention to actually close those schools. Were he to do so, he would lose much of his voting base. Nope, he will cave to the wishes of the unions. After all, it is all for the children.

As a lifelong resident of cornfield hell (that’s downstate Illinois to the geographically challenged Chicago teachers and students) who spent many wonderful years in the city for college and law schools, and many days there in the intervening decades for work, I find the “racism” and “prejudice” rhetoric amusing, and beyond hypocritical. Where were these educational idiots when THOUSANDS of community schools throughout Illinois, most with virtually all white student bodies, were closed and consolidated in the past 3 decades. There are kindergarten children being bused to school for over an hour, in many cases past multiple closed community schools. And yet, somehow, there was no mayhem when this was being done, and as it continues. Somehow, these schools also manage to graduate students who can actually read,many of whom own multiple weapons and manage not to shoot their fellow classmates, all educated by teachers who make much less than their fine Chicago counterparts.

[…] week, the Chicago Teachers Union brought in radical anarchist organizer Lisa Fithian to train teachers in civil disobedience. This week, we got to see the results of her class when […]