Opponents are still speaking out against the Chicago Public School Board’s decision to shut down 49 elementary schools. Jesse Jackson has been following the Chicago Teachers Union’s lead, providing vocal opposition and appearing at union protests with CTU President Karen Lewis.
According to WBBM Chicago, Jackson says the “school closing is too vast, too divisive, too dangerous and happening too quickly… They’re closing schools… without offering a place at the table for those with a real stake in the issue. So we have imposed upon us a process that is ultimately undemocratic.”
The school closings have been a front and center issue for the city since last year. The Chicago Teachers Union has organized massive protest actions, including staged arrests, in coordination with the Chicago Police Department and radical activists such as anarchist Lisa Fithian and the International Socialist Organization.
WBBM reports Brandon Johnson, a CTU organizer and outspoken socialist, said, “What we find most disconcerting, is that black parents in particular, have overwhelmingly rejected the mayor’s plan. He has decided to draw a line in the sand and refused to negotiate with the parents.”
While there is little opponents can do to stop the closures, they are drawing criticism across the spectrum.
Paul McKinley, a Republican favorite of local Tea Parties who recently lost his bid for the IL-02 congressional seat, told Breitbart News, “It is a complex situation. Jackson is not making the full argument.”
“The mayor wants to replace public schools with charter schools, but those schools are clout schools,” McKinley claimed, inferring that not everyone can go to charter schools near their home unless they have special connections. He argued children will be forced to different neighborhoods to attend schools, which “creates a safety and security problem, that will make the children separate and unequal.”
Kevin Betton, a Chicago Public School parent who’s child is not affected by the school closures, agreed, telling Breitbart News: “they are talking about creating more ‘safe passage patrols’ for students, but why if the students are already unsafe, how can they rely on safe passage?”
State Representative Will Davis says that a bill proposing a moratorium on school closures in the state legislature is likely dead on arrival.