‘Headteachers have passed a vote of no confidence in the government’s education policies, declaring that Michael Gove‘s policies are not in the best interests of children.
Delegates at the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) conference in Birmingham raised concerns about the new national curriculum, major test and exam reforms and schools being forced into becoming academies.
Tim Gallagher, proposing the motion, said: “Enough is enough. This motion’s intention is to send the strongest message possible to this government that many of their education policies are failing our children, their parents and the very fabric of our school communities.”
The NAHT is the first headteachers’ union to pass a vote of no confidence in the government’s education reforms.
The UK’s three biggest teachers’ unions, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT passed similar votes at their Easter conferences. The NUT and the NASUWT are planning regional strikes in the north-west next month in a continuing row over pay, pensions and workload, with the prospect of a national strike later this year.’
‘[...] What happened to Wesley is not an isolated incident. It is another recent example of school administrators removing students from the classroom because of harmless student expression. Last month, high school junior Kyron Birdine found himself suspended for four days for using Twitter to mock a mandatory-but-ungraded standardized test. Two weeks ago, a science experiment that produced smoke—but no harm or injury of any kind—nevertheless resulted in the expulsion and arrest of model high school student Kiera Wilmot, who is now facing felony charges. All of these students are black, which is unfortunately not a surprise. Zero-tolerance suspension policies are inflicted on students of color at a rate vastly disproportionate to their numbers.
Overwhelming evidence shows that this breed of zero tolerance policies has failed. Worse than failed; Backfired. In addition to raising serious First Amendment concerns, the rush to suspend or arrest students like Wesley, Kyron and Kiera for minor classroom infractions produces devastating consequences for the students involved and often serves as the first step on the school-to-prison pipeline.’
‘Summer break has started very early for kids in one Michigan school district.
Buena Vista schools have been closed for five days already, and on Monday, the district’s website stated that the school would be closed until further notice. For good reason, this decision has parents, and the community, up in arms.
The problem in Buena Vista is that the school district, educating approximately 450 kids, is out of money. All the teachers have been laid off and a financial emergency has been declared. The district has suffered from declining enrollment, which, in turn, has led to a loss of $3 million in state funding since 2010.’
College Execs have Private Jets? New Report Finds Public University Presidents Live Large ~ Alternet
by Alyssa Figueroa
‘A new report released by The Chronicle of Higher Education on Monday revealed that public university presidents in the U.S. are doing quite well financially.
[...] Meanwhile, for students, life is quite far from lavish. The median student loan debt in the U.S. is $13,600, with the average being $24,301. In total, the amount of student loan debt owed in the U.S. is $1 trillion. Funding for public universities has been cut by about 28 percent since 2008, while the cost of attending one has more than doubled since 1988. Come July 1, the interest rates on subsidized federal Stafford loans are set to double — from 3.4 to 6.8 percent — if Congress doesn’t take action.”’
Abby Martin talks to Cynthia Copeland, educator and parent, about the growing resistance against standardized testing, highlighting examples of boycotts and walk-outs of statewide standardized tests.
by Herb Weisbaum
‘Crushing student debt is not only killing dreams, it’s hurting the broader economy.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is warning of the “potential domino effects” to the economy of high student debt. A just-released report from the consumer watchdog highlights the ways this debt can deplete savings, limit spending, and shape choices about a graduate’s career path and where to live.
“College can open up many opportunities, and we do not want that college degree to become more of a burden than a blessing for those saddled with unmanageable debt in a tough employment market,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray in a statement. “So we are concerned that unmanageable student loan debt may be harmful to recovering consumer markets and may be dragging down borrowers’ lives.”‘
Senator Elizabeth Warren Introduces Bill That Allows Student Loans At Same Rate Banks Can Borrow At ~ MSNBC
Diabetic High School Girl Beaten by Police Officer and Arrested, For Falling Asleep in Class ~ Alternet
by Alex Kane
‘A student who was arrested and beaten for falling asleep at school is now suing an Alabama city, its police department and some school employees for civil rights violation, battery and negligent supervision and hiring.
The Courthouse News Service reports that after the diabetic student fell asleep while in a room reserved for “in school suspensions,” a school police officer slammed her face into a cabinet and then arrested her. The incident occurred at a high school in Hoover, Alabama.’
by Tara Culp-Ressler
‘A New York City elementary school became the first public school in the nation to go completely vegetarian when it stopped serving meat in its cafeteria this year.
Flushing’s P.S. 244 consists of about 400 students between kindergarten and third grade. And the staff say that the school lunches — which include options like black bean quesadillas, brown rice, falafel, roasted red potatoes, and tofu — are a hit among those young kids, some of whom have started requesting similar foods at home.’
by Lyndsey Layton
‘Despite the Great Recession of 2008 — which focused the nation’s attention on the economy — high school seniors on average showed no significant improvement in their understanding of economic issues between 2006 and 2012, according to new testing data released Wednesday by the federal government.’
Editors Note: A brilliant antidote to the efforts of some politicians who wish to see the reading of religious texts mandated in schools. Also a great way to stimulate imaginations, improve maths and science skills along with our thinking about the effects of emerging technologies.
by Dave Maass
‘…a Republican legislator in West Virginia is proposing this session with a bill that would require the State Board of Education to integrate “grade-appropriate science fiction literature” into middle-school and high-school reading curricula. Delegate Ray Canterbury, who represents Greenbrier County in southern West Virginia, originally introduced the legislation last year. It received next to no attention, but this session he’s bringing back the bill, recruiting co-sponsors and preparing editorials with the hope that even if it doesn’t pass it will pressure the Board of Education to adopt science fiction on its own.
“I’m not interested in fantasy novels about dragons,” Canterbury said in an interview with Blastr. “I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers.”
Canterbury cites Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne as early influences in his own youth that lead him to earn a degree in mathematics. He’s nostalgic for the 1960s and 1970s, when the space program combined with popular science fiction (such as Gene Roddenberry’sStar Trek) helped inspire a generation of technologists.
These days, West Virginia students are falling behind in math and science. Although students are fascinated by emerging technology like tablets and smartphones, he says very few want to become the scientists and engineers who develop new technologies. He believes that science fiction, particularly hard science fiction such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, may be the key to encouraging students.’
by Melanie Hall and Graeme Paton
A publication released by a group of health and children’s charities says that teachers should bear in mind that pornography is “hugely diverse”.
Pupils as young as 11 should be taught the dangers of “sexting” and five-year-olds should know how airbrushing in the media creates unrealistic body image expectations, it says.
Older pupils aged 14 upwards should tackle “real” and “unreal” behaviour in pornography, says the guide, which directs teachers to a list of online resources they can use in lessons.
It suggests using a website called TheSite.org, an advice forum for young people, which tells teenagers that “porn can be great” and aims to tackle a series of “myths” about the subject. “Sex is great. And porn can be great. It’s the idea that porn sex is like real sex which is the problem,” says the website. “But if you can separate the fantasy from the reality you’re much more likely to enjoy both.”
The guide was published by the Sex Education Forum (SEF), a coalition of more than 90 organisations, including the NSPCC and Barnardo’s, established to campaign for better lessons in the subject.
However, critics said many parents would be “horrified” if their children were taught about pornography in school. Campaigners said it was “playing with fire” and warned that it could encourage a casual attitude towards sex.
The publication follows the Government’s announcement that it will no longer include personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), which is commonly used to deliver sex education lessons, in the National Curriculum. Instead, schools will be left to draw up their own syllabuses.
by Arturo Garcia
Progressive radio host Mike Papantonio sang the praises of author Susan Jacoby on his radio show on Friday, echoing the theme of her 2008 book The Age of American Unreason in saying, “Anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism have become almost epidemic in America,” and saying the only hesitation one should have in reading the book is how scary her findings are.
[...] In her book, Papantonio explained, Jacobs found that more than 40 percent of Americans under the age of 44 did not read a single book over the course of the previous year. And their concentration had deteriorated to the point that politicians needed to condense their messages into 8-second soundbytes to grab their attention, leading her to conclude that the country was now “ill with a powerful mutant strain of intertwined ignorance, anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism,” compounded by schools’ increased emphasis on passing standardized tests instead of comprehensive education on subjects like civics and humanities.
Education secretary Michael Gove has called for longer school days and a cut in the length of holidays, which he said would improve performance and make life easier for working parents.
The reforms could allow state schools to choose to stay open until 4.30pm and introduce a shorter, four-week summer holiday for pupils from September next year, representing a profound change for parents used to tailoring their working hours to the classroom timetable.
Gove said the school system had been designed for a 19th-century agricultural economy and risked leaving British children trailing those in Asia. “It may be the case that there are one or two legislative and bureaucratic obstacles which prevent all schools moving in this direction, but I think it’s consistent with the pressures of a modern society. I also think it’s going to be family friendly,” he said.
Even as the economy struggles to recover from the bursting of the sub-prime mortgage debt bubble in 2008 a new debt crisis over student loans looms on the horizon, and this time the federal government is actually profiting off of debtors. If a coming interest rate increase is not averted by Congress, millions of student borrowers could be thrown into default, with devastating consequences not only for themselves but for the economy as a whole.
At present, student loan debt stands at $1.1 trillion, more than all other consumer debt except for home mortgages. Some experts, including those at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research, warn that student debt is a potential threat to financial stability that could depress demand for home mortgages and reduce consumption.
Meanwhile, the federal Department of Education is making big money from student loan payments. Its direct loan program yielded a $27.5 billion profit on loans made in 2011, $24 billion on loans made in 2012, and is expected to earn $33.5 billion on loans made in 2013. All told, over the last five years the government has earned $101.8 billion in profit from student borrowers, thanks to differences between the government’s low borrowing costs and students’ fixed interest rates.
CHILEAN students took to the streets yesterday, staging nationwide demonstrations and demanding free education.
Riot police patrolled the streets of Santiago, the capital, and many shopkeepers shut their doors, fearing outbreaks of looting.
Security forces used water cannon to break up groups of demonstrators, some of whom threw petrol bombs and rocks.
Few students have seen any real benefits after two years of marches that raised hopes across Chile for education reform.
The marches began during the 2006-10 government of Michelle Bachelet and have troubled president Sebastian Pinera even more.
Mr Pinera’s government is focusing a chunk of the 2013 budget on financing school loans at lower rates.
However, students say the system is still fails them, with poor public schools, expensive private universities, ill-prepared teaching staff and unaffordable loans.
by KATIE MCDONOUGH
As part of a lesson in persuasive writing, students at a New York State high school were asked to write an essay arguing that “Jews are evil” using “solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich.”
According to the Times Union:
Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.
The assignment upset a number of students and families, prompting an apology from Albany High School Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, who chalked the controversy up to a misunderstanding about academic intent.
by Ed Yardeni
People with more education tend to have lower unemployment rates than those with less education. The jobless rate for workers with a BA degree or higher was only 3.8% in March versus 11.1% for those with less than a high school diploma and 7.6% for those with a diploma, but no college.
The bad news is that higher education may be losing its value as a sure way to get a job, especially a good one. That’s because too many people are going to college and majoring in subjects that may not meet the requirements of the available jobs. So there may be an excess supply of highly educated people who aren’t qualified to fill the job openings.
In March, there were 49.2 million people in the labor force with a BA degree or higher. That’s up 20.4 million in the past 20 years. Over the same period, the number with some college or an associate degree rose 9.2 million to 37.2 million in March. While the unemployment rates for college educated workers are relatively low, their jobless rates currently remain relatively high at this late stage of the business cycle.
Just as troubling is that many of the people coming out of college may be taking jobs requiring relatively low skills. If so, then they are inadvertently boosting the unemployment rates for people with less education. People with college degrees may be crowding out those with high school degrees in the labor market. The former college students are increasingly saddled with debts to pay for their education and are especially anxious to get a job, any job to make their loan payments. Of course, quite a few are simply defaulting on their loans.
Stacy Summary: This is the other tragic side of quantitative easing (only banksters need apply for free cash) and a financial system destroyed by fraud, cronyism and crime. You see similarly bleak job prospects from America where we see the worst participation rate since 1979 and where McDonald’s jobs are advertising for employees with college degrees. Welcome to the new world disorder. Be a slave, a jumper or a free gold, silver, bitcoin thinker.
An academic jumped off scaffolding to his death when he was only able to find a job in a call centre after finishing his doctorate, an inquest heard today.
Dr Philip Elliott, 31, who had recently completed a PhD in physics at Reading University, was seen on the sixth floor of an apartment block in west London just after 11am on January 27 this year.
Police tried to call him down but he fell from the property in Cromwell Street, Kensington, an hour later, the hearing was told.
And in Italy . . .
The bodies of Romeo Dionsi, 62, and Anna Sopranzi, 68, were discovered by their neighbours on Friday morning at their home in Civitanova, a small village in the central Marche region on the Adriatic Sea.
Learning the news, the woman’s brother Giuseppe Sopranzi, 73, threw himself into the sea. His body was retrieved by rescuers who were unable to revive him.
Police said there was no doubt the suicide was linked to economic problems, and that the couple was unable to pay their rent.
Angelina Jolie paid glowing tribute to the Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ education, introducing Malala Yousafzai to the Women in the World summit via a new video from Britain.
“Today I’m going to announce the happiest moment of my life,” the 15-year-old said, at one point shyly covering her face with her hands. She said a new school in Pakistan would be built for 40 girls. “Let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls,” she said.
Jolie committed $200,000 to the new “Malala’s Fund” for girls’ education in Pakistan.
Malala was already known for her activism when she was shot in the head in October by Taliban attackers angered by her outspokenness in a deeply conservative society.
She was brought to Britain for treatment, including skull reconstruction. She was released last month and has started attending school there. She was shortlisted for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2012 and recently signed a deal to write her memoir.
by Eric W. Dolan
Though the Supreme Court ruled racial segregation unconstitutional in 1954, parents in a town in Georgia have ensured the doctrine of “separate but equal” survived at prom dances.
But that could all change. Students at Wilcox County High School in south Georgia have organized the school’s very first racially integrated prom, which will be held on April 27.
“We live in rural south Georgia, where not too many things change,” they wrote on a Facebook page they created. “Well, as a group of adamant high school seniors, we want to make a difference in our community. For the first time in the history of our county, we plan to have an integrated prom.”
When the school was integrated 30 years ago, it ended its annual prom and parents began sponsoring their own private dances for students. The prom and homecoming dances have been segregated ever since.
A biracial student tried to attend an all-white prom last year. The incident resulted in the student being turned away and police being called.
by Mick Meaney
This report is just the tip of the iceberg that demonstrates how relationships between big business and politicians influence government decision making.
One of the UK’s largest companies, co-founded by a Tory donor, has won government approval that will give the company influence in every high school in Britain.
Education secretary Michael Gove approved a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme created by Carphone Warehouse, the world’s largest independent mobile communications retailer, to place the company’s tablet computers in all UK high schools.
Last year Gove had a secret meeting with Carphone chief executive, Andrew Harrison, to discuss a national roll out of the scheme in UK schools by the end of 2013. Gove had also provided the company with help from his own government officials, a freedom of information act request has revealed.
Speaking to RINF Alternative News, an outraged school teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, said:
“Education in this country isn’t for the benefit of the children, it’s for the benefit of government and corporations.”
She appears to be right. The British government has always had a culture of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, as this deal demonstrates.
Carphone Warehouse was founded by two men, David Ross and Charles Dunstone.
David Ross is a millionaire Tory donor with strong ties to the party. He has donated over £117,000 since 2001 and is a close personal friend of Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Senior Tories had seriously considered nominating Ross as their candidate for Tory Mayor of London, however, he was made an adviser to the Mayor of London after Boris Johnson was elected in 2008, but stood down in 2009 after failing to disclose that he had used £130-million of his Carphone Warehouse shares as security against personal loans. The scandal also resulted in his resignation from the company.
However, Ross soon returned to politics. In December 2012 he was appointed as an adviser to Boris Johnson, this time on the London Legacy Development Corporation board.
His influence in politics is not to be underestimated.
The other co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, Charles Dunstone, the son of a BP executive, also has some interesting ties.
As a member of the ‘Chipping Norton set’, a close group of powerful politicians and media elite who reside in and around the Oxfordshire town of Chipping Norton, he has some very high profile friends including; David Cameron, Rebekah Brooks, former CEO of News International, and Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of Rupert Murdoch.
Which is interesting considering Dunstone’s involvement with the media and finance.
He is the non-executive director of a number of companies including DMGT, one of the largest media companies in Europe which owns the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and Metro. The company also owns a 20% stake in news broadcaster, ITN.
Dunstone is the non-executive director of HBOS , a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lloyds Banking Group.
And is also the non-executive director of IMD, a distributor of advertising and programming, which boasts ITV and BSkyB as clients.
While often referred to as a Labour supporter, in 2009 the Telegraph reported that Dunstone would be eagerly welcomed into government, if he desired a business-related job in the Cameron administration.
When we connect the dots like this, it appears that what we’ve got here is another case of a large corporation using its political connections which span to the very top of government, to profiteer and sway decisions in their favour.
The British government has always allowed corporations to call the shots, this is merely just one example of corporate influence in government, out of hundreds. Indeed, this week a report revealed that one third of ministers, including David Cameron, have links to finance and energy companies.
It’s clear that decisions are made not based on what is good for the people, but for what is best for the corporations that politicians have a vested interest in.
This is the reality of our corrupt politician system; a case of who you know, not what you know.
by Suzi Parker
In Mississippi, if kindergarteners violate the dress code or act out in class, they may end up in the back of a police car.
A story about one five-year-old particularly stands out. The little boy was required to wear black shoes to school. Because he didn’t have black shoes, his mom used a marker to cover up his white and red sneakers. A bit of red and white were still noticeable, so the child was taken home by the cops.
The child was escorted out of school so he and his mother would be taught a lesson.
Ridiculous? Perhaps. But incidents such as this are happening across Mississippi. A new report, “Handcuffs on Success: The Extreme School Discipline Crisis in Mississippi Public Schools,” exposes just how bad it’s become.
Released on January 17, the report is a joint project between state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse and the Advancement Project.
The report examined more than 100 school districts and claimed that black students are affected by harsh disciplinary actions at a much greater rate than their white peers. It notes that “for every one white student who is given an out-of-school suspension, three black students are suspended, even though black students comprise just half of the student population.”
Carlos McCray, an associate professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Education in the Education Leadership Administration Program, says, “Research has shown that students who are subjected to multiple suspensions and expulsions are more likely to drop out of school. And we all know where this leads.”
According to a New York Times article by Jan Hoffman referencing a study of the Facebook profiles of 200 university students in the United States, approximately 30 percent of the students “posted updates that met the American Psychiatric Association’s criteria for a symptom of depression, reporting feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, insomnia or sleeping too much, and difficulty concentrating”. These findings are said to “echo research that suggests depression is increasingly common among college students”.
Hoffman’s point is that Facebook can therefore serve as an “early warning system for timely intervention” by parents and therapists. The article ends with a quote from a mother in Ohio: “Facebook might be a pain in the neck to keep up with… But having that extra form of communication saves lives”.
No mention is made of the obvious exacerbating influence of social networking sites when it comes to phenomena such as insomnia and concentration difficulty. Rather than promote Facebook as a life-saving tool, one could easily argue that such forums and other technological distractions in fact contribute to depressive trends.
Alienation from reality
The “Facebook Newsroom” currently lists developments such as “Today we’re rolling out improvements to timeline that help you express what’s important to you” and “Today we’re announcing a new version of Facebook designed to… focus more on stories from the people you care about”.
The attempted injection of human emotion into what is ultimately a dehumanising experience is symbolic of a general estrangement from reality in which Facebook culture is both a cause and a symptom.
The detrimental effects of the conversion of emotion and empathy into a click on a computer or a mobile phone can be observed in the following anecdote from Hoffman’s article:
“Replying to questions posted on Facebook by The New York Times, Daylina Miller, a recent graduate of the University of South Florida, said that when she poured out her sadness online, some readers responded only with the Facebook ‘like’ symbol: a thumb’s up.
‘You feel the same way?’ said Ms. Miller, puzzled. ‘Or you like that I’m sad? You’re sadistic?’”
Similarly inauspicious examples of the constriction of empathy and warping of inter-human relations include the “liking” of death announcements.
On my own Facebook feed, I’ve witnessed friends post news of a parent’s death only to be bombarded with the thumb’s up and comments to the effect of: “Sorry man!”
In addition to a cheapening of sentiment, Facebook also encourages alienation from reality by displacing the space-time continuum: instead of experiencing events and thoughts as they occur in real-time, users are often distracted by how best to market these events and thoughts to their Facebook audiences.
The transfer of the self onto a computer screen is furthermore decentring given the attendant diffusion of identity. As for the conditioned need for personal validation in the form of little red notifications appearing at the top of one’s Facebook page, this is conducive to a state of perennial anticipation that is counterproductive to the functioning of the nervous system. Posts on bowel movements and the like are an extreme example of the need to reiterate, and obtain acknowledgement of, one’s fragmented existence.
Gates Foundation And Rupert Murdoch Unveil New Database To Track K-12 Students’ Personal Information ~ Reuters
by Stephanie Simon
[...] In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.
Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services. Entrepreneurs can’t wait. “This is going to be a huge win for us,” said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.
The database is a joint project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states. Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, built the infrastructure over the past 18 months. When it was ready, the Gates Foundation turned the database over to a newly created nonprofit, inBloom Inc, which will run it.
States and school districts can choose whether they want to input their student records into the system; the service is free for now, though inBloom officials say they will likely start to charge fees in 2015. So far, seven states – Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Massachusetts – have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide.
“We look at personalized learning as the next big leap forward in education,” said Brandon Williams, a director at the Illinois State Board of Education.
Federal officials say the database project complies with privacy laws. Schools do not need parental consent to share student records with any “school official” who has a “legitimate educational interest,” according to the Department of Education. The department defines “school official” to include private companies hired by the school, so long as they use the data only for the purposes spelled out in their contracts.
The database also gives school administrators full control over student files, so they could choose to share test scores with a vendor but withhold social security numbers or disability records.
That’s hardly reassuring to many parents.
“Once this information gets out there, it’s going to be abused. There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Jason France, a father of two in Louisiana.
Parents from New York and Louisiana have written state officials in protest. So have the Massachusetts chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and Parent-Teacher Association. If student records leak, are hacked or abused, “What are the remedies for parents?” asked Norman Siegel, a civil liberties attorney in New York who has been working with the protestors. “It’s very troubling.”
by Lauren FitzPatrick and Mitch Dudek
[...] Protesters descended en masse onto Daley Plaza Wednesday to denounce a historic number of schools closing, mainly on Chicago’s South and West Sides, an act that resulted in more than 100 protesters removed and ticketed.
Last week, schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced she wanted to close 54 schools and 61 school buildings come June. Wednesday morning, Mayor Rahm Emanuel held his ground, saying the consolidation is necessary and is going to happen.
The mayor called it intolerable that a school system with a 61 percent graduation rate for all students, graduates just 45 percent of black males.
“I understand and appreciate the difficulty. But, locking kids into a….school that, year-in and year-out, is failing their full potential — is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to those children and unacceptable to this city,” he said.
Wednesday afternoon, thousands of people and several unions said they would not yet give up on the closings that will affect 30,000 students and 1,000 teachers.
As some protesters pounded on drums, hundreds of signs bobbed over heads clad in winter hats.
A Chicago flag with a teacher’s twist — fourred apples instead of stars — fluttered overhead.
One man donned a gas mask because, he said, Emanuel’s decision “really stinks.”