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

For Immediate Release

CORE
Contact: 

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 - 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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