City Hall has power to reverse hostility to needs of ordinary residents—and must muster political will to support real equity and economic justice.

CHICAGO, November 8, 2019—Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in response to news that enrollment in Chicago’s public schools have fallen by more than 5,000 students this year, as CPS released its latest rankings from the racist SQRP formula:

“City Hall policy under the last two mayors has mounted an assault on affordable housing, shown a relentless indifference to the lack of living wage work in low-income communities, and endlessly attacked basic necessities in our public schools. This chronic hostility to the needs of this city’s working class neighborhoods, particularly on the South and West Sides, undermines the civil rights of these residents and has driven the hollowing out some of our most historic and dynamic neighborhoods.

“No truly world class city can survive without dynamic and diverse neighborhoods of families and workers. This callous push-out of working class families threatens the very sustainability of this city—and it doesn’t have to be this way.

“We need a shift in priorities and values in Chicago—a shift that prioritizes real equity and economic justice. As a candidate, Mayor Lightfoot promised Chicagoans she would implement city hall policies and investments grounded in real equity. She can begin to reverse this strangling of our working class neighborhoods today by investing the city’s vast resources in the common good of our working class families—the backbone of this city.

“Working class taxpayers in Chicago have paid for skyscrapers that most will never visit and high-end developments that few will ever live in. That appropriation of the city’s wealth from the many to the few has prioritized handouts to wealthy corporations over the most basic needs of ordinary residents—including the needs of our public schools and the students we serve.

“The mayor can start by ending the starving our public schools, as the mayor promised as a candidate. That must include reversing racist ‘ranking’ policies like SQRP and SBB—Rahm Emanuel’s toxic student-based budgeting scheme—that puts schools that serve our most disadvantaged students on a downward spiral of student flight and further defunding.

“This city—one of the wealthiest in the world—has the money to keep the mayor’s promises and support the working class families of color who rely on our public schools and our public infrastructure. What we need is the political will from City Hall to make it happen. Let’s get to it.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at