Digital divide dovetails with poverty, chronic inequality for hundreds of thousands of low income Black and Brown CPS students. Click here to view the full CTU press conference.
CHICAGO, April 17, 2020—CTU President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in response to Governor J.B. Pritzker’s decision to close all Illinois schools for the remainder of the year:
“My thoughts right now are with high school seniors and eighth graders, who will miss formal graduation ceremonies this year, but I understand the governor’s decision and thank him for making the safety of our educators, students and school communities paramount.
“This pandemic has intensified the inequality that hundreds of thousands of students and their families confront. We live in a city where the mayor controls nearly every essential service, from schools, to housing, to transportation. We must now shift our focus to protecting students and families in this crisis, educating them to the best of our ability, and making not only their survival, but their recovery, a priority.
“Our homeless students must be relocated to hotels with wireless services and digital devices immediately. If dozens of festivals with line item expenses in the city budget are going to be cancelled, those resources should immediately be redirected toward remote learning resources for the hundreds of thousands of students still in need—this includes families that lack the necessary equipment and broadband access. We must take a page from other school districts and bring wireless hotspots to the communities that need them.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the holes in our public health and social safety net, but we can emerge from this crisis stronger if we act immediately to provide necessary resources to students in Garfield Park, Englewood, Little Village, Pilsen and dozens more neighborhoods struggling from disinvestment and neglect. I am tremendously proud of our members, who have been fully engaged with their students and families since schools closed in March. Our union will continue to do so in providing whatever support they will need going forward. That includes our continued support for the Right to Recovery platform that has been embraced by a growing number of grassroots groups, advocates and state and local elected officials.”