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Flanked by Chicago Public School (CPS) parents, Local School Council leaders, clergy and educators, the Chicago Teachers Union released its vision of what the city’s schools should look like for all students to be successful during a news conference at its headquarters today.  The comprehensive report, The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve, offers proven policy recommendations to improve student academic performance and strengthen neighborhood schools.

“This report will quickly become the leading public policy platform for all people truly interested in how to reverse the status quo in our city’s public schools,” stated CTU President Karen GJ Lewis.

The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve makes the case for immediate district-wide enforcement of practical and proven solutions to dramatically improve the academic performance of more than 400,000 students in a district of 675 schools. 

“For far too long our students have been short-changed, their teachers have been undermined and their schools have been financially starved of the resources they need,” said Lewis.  “Today we release our vision of what a CPS education should look like for every student, not just those from higher income brackets.  We need fresh and innovative ideas, not the same status quo and failed policies of the past 17 years.”

The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve presents a compelling argument that the education children receive should not depend on zip code, family income, or racial background.  Unfortunately, statistics show that neighborhood, race and socioeconomics are all too often the deciding factors in a student’s path to academic excellence.  For example, CPS students are 86 percent low-income and 87 percent African American or Latino.  Few CPS schools provide world language classes and 160 CPS elementary schools do not even have libraries.

“Although we don’t control the policies, curriculum or purse strings, educators must be in the forefront of developing education policy not politicians and venture capitalists,” Lewis explained.  “Parents, teachers, paraprofessionals and community leaders cannot longer afford to wait for the Chicago Board of Education to give us educational justice.  We must advocate for the schools our children deserve.  This is our plan.”

Among those joining Lewis to support CTU’s proposed education plan were Ms. Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education, Dr. Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, Mr. Kevin Kumashiro, University of Illinois at Chicago professor and president-elect of the National Association for Multicultural Education, Dr. Pauline Lipman, UIC education policy professor and Ms. Illiana Espinosa-Krehbiele, education organizer for the Albany Park Neighborhood Council.