Resistance to School Closures in Chicago
The Chicago Public Schools board is planning to close 129 schools in the town
The Chicago Teachers Union, which organised a successful and widely supported strike last September has been campaigning tirelessly since then to organise and enable mass protests against the closures - which are part of the city's plan to privatise, de-unionise and degrade education for low income and minority children.
Using all the rhetoric of the school 'reform' movement internationally, the neo-liberals in charge in Chicago - home of neo-liberalism - are pressing on with their plans in the teeth of determined resistance by local communities. A series of meetings, organised and funded by the Walmart Foundation to promote the changes, have instead demonstrated the depth of feeling against the closures, with one being attended by 1000 people.
This policy is not restricted to Chicago - other states have also seen public schools closed, to be replaced by privatised charters. The same is happening in different forms in many parts of the world - from New Zealand, whose government has used the earthquake as an excuse to 're-organise' ie close and privatise schools, to Wales, where draconian public sepending cuts are leading to the closure of rural schools, to India, where a relentless barrage of propaganda against public schools is leading to a burgeoning private school sector, even for the poor.
What is common to all these places and many more however is the will of teachers and communities to stand up for their schools and stand up to the neo-liberal 'reformers.' In Chicago a shut down of the city is planned for March 27th. To read more about Chicago school closures and the resistance to it go here.