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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 18, 2009
6:13 PM

CONTACT: CORE

Kenzo Shibata,Communications Secretary
312.296.0124 kenzo.shibata@gmail.com
www.twitter.com/coreteachers

Chicago Educators to Demonstrate Against Arne Duncan’s Visit Coalition of Education Activists to Warn Nation About Duncan’s Draconian 'Turnarounds'

CHICAGO - June 18 - On Friday, June 19th, 2009, the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) will hold a demonstration against “turnarounds” and other policies promoted by current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan outside of the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Drive) from 8:00 AM until 9:30 AM. Duncan is the guest of honor for a breakfast reception at the hotel sponsored by education policy group Advance Illinois. CORE will be holding a press conference at the demonstration at 9:15 AM.Updates from the demonstration will be available at www.twitter.com/coreteachers.

“Turnaround” is a program where every employee at a school is fired, including teachers, cafeteria staff, administration, and every other employee on site. Many of these schools are given over to management companies. This program is a part of “Renaissance 2010” which is Mayor Richard Daley’s program to overhaul the Chicago Public Schools through privatization and destabilization of the city’s schools. CORE member Ed Gallagher calls this the "Chicago Model" of educational reform and states “[Turnaround] is not about improving schools. It is about putting money into the hands of political insiders and turning the schools over to the Mayor's political allies. It’s Chicago style contract patronage.” One of the slogans of the demonstration will be “Students are not Parking Meters” in reference to Mayor Daley’s failed program of privatizing parking in the city.

The intention of the demonstration and press conference is to warn the nation against Duncan’s policies in Chicago as CEO of the Chicago schools before he unleashes them upon the nation. The group’s local demand is a moratorium on all charter, contract and turnaround proposals until a new policy team composed of teachers, parents and students convene to create a reform agenda that reflects the interests of those constituencies.

Jackson Potter, Co-Chair of CORE explains the rationale for the demonstration. “There are many sordid facts that are often overlooked in Arne Duncan's reform initiatives; such as the large number of black veteran teachers losing their jobs, students forced out of their neighborhood schools and the exclusion of parent led local school councils.” CORE Co-Chair Karen Lewis questions the efficacy of Duncan’s initiatives in Chicago, “Where's the proof of the success? Arne Duncan is perpetuating a fraud on the American public!”

On June 10th, 2009, the CORE filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that school “turnarounds,” have a disparate impact on African American teachers. The charges can be downloaded of CORE’s website (www.coreteachers.org).

Duncan has announced that the White House’s goal is to implement this turnaround program in 5000 schools across the nation. CORE argues that this could lead to a large-scale decrease in African American teachers, if this trend continues. However, Duncan claims that education “is the civil rights issue of our generation” and it is the one sure path to a more equal, fair and just society.”
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CORE is the reform caucus of the Chicago Teachers Union that represents rank-and-file members. The group is composed of teachers, retired teachers, educational staff and other champions of public education who hope to democratize the Chicago Teachers Union and turn it into an organization that fights on behalf of its members and the students they teach.

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