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Chicago Teachers Union Files Lawsuit To Stop School Closings

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s latest attempt to privatize education in Chicago is running into considerable opposition. The Chicago Teachers Union, joining up with concerned parents, has filed a lawsuit to halt the school closings the privatizer-heavy Board of Education ordered. The lawsuit alleges Chicago Public Schools are not following their own guidelines for school closings.

The Chicago Teachers Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday that seeks to keep 10 schools from being shuttered, the third such action aimed at reversing the Board of Education’s approval last week of closing 49 elementary schools and a high school program.

Unlike two federal lawsuits filed by parents that, among other things, allege discrimination, the CTU’s lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court argues that Chicago Public Schools did not follow proper procedure in the 10 closures.

Chicago Public Schools, despite current policies dictating otherwise, refused to take into account warnings by independent hearing officers that the school closings jeopardize student safety and special needs education.

The lawsuit contends that CPS ignored recommendations of independent hearing officers who opposed the closings on the grounds that the district did not follow state law or its own guidelines for shutting down schools.

Under state law, the district should have abided by those recommendations, argued CTU attorney Robert Bloch.

“The law bars them from closing a school where the hearing officer goes through the process to issue a ruling and determines the school closing plan does not comply with the district’s own guidelines,” Bloch said. “The board is not permitted to close that school then in that school year.”

Mayor Rahmbo had already come under suspicion as being an advocate of privatization but his current move left little doubt. Emanuel’s demonstration demolition is meant to endear him to the elite privatization movement. The destruction of public education will make way for more neoliberal policies, and of course, some nice business opportunities for friends and contributors. The only force strong enough to oppose the corporate ‘reformers’ is the teachers unions, which has made them enemy no. 1. If the unions fail to stop the looters it will be open season on universal education throughout America.

What is going on right now in Chicago will find its way to your door.

Photo from FDL Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.