Thoughts on a disaster…

Bob George – Save Our Schools National Director
Have you ever witnessed a disaster?

Where you troubled, shaken to your core, reminded of the need to live every day as if it is your last? Would you do anything you could to have found a way to keep what you encountered from happening or happening again?

My guess is your answer to all of the above is yes!

We are in the midst of a gathering super-storm more powerful than Katrina or Sandy. More lives will be lost; more children harmed irreparably, and more families devastated than were in the two-mega storms combined.

There are those who believe Sandy and Katrina were wrought at man’s hand. While this can and will be argued, what cannot escape recognition is in this current situation, The tempest is entirely one of our doing. Human beings created the crisis that came and comes.

I am speaking of the plan to close, co-locate and turnaround 70 schools in the City of Chicago. More than 30,000 students will be affected. Counting those affected by the community disruption it could easily be 100, 000 persons who will be harmed.

Bob you say, ‘You exaggerate!!!!!’

I do not think so. Each day black or brown children must face the educational apartheid that is the Chicago Public Schools [CPS]. Today, we lose vibrant lives to the oblivion of unfulfilled human potential. Daily lives are actually lost to violence due to the systematic disinvestment and destruction of the heart and soul of the communities of color here in Chicago. While one might think these are separate concerns, a closer look reveals the two are one in the same. Let us look at the “facts,” figures, the maps, and the hidden message too often missed.

Ask yourself; how do you explain the more than 1200 youths that have perished since 2008? http://bit.ly/WzWMPm What might create a climate that contributes to mass murders and single shootings? Could it be that if we educate our youth they might stop killing each other and themselves?

Education is the foundation of hope and the lifeblood of opportunity.

Chicago Public Schools says of itself “It establishes policies, standards, goals and initiatives to ensure accountability and provide a high quality, world-class education for the 21st century that prepares our students for success in college, work and life.” In practice, however, CPS has and is diligently acting in ways that destroys the students and educators schools in the black and brown communities. More than 75 ,000 Children have been relocated; 101 schools closed, and thousands of black and brown teachers fired.

Now we have a tsunami of epic proportions. This week it was announced that 54 more schools will close, creating 11 more co-locations and 6 turnarounds all in the same geographic areas. Look at the map of the school closings http://graphics.chicagotribune.com/school_utilization/ Compare it to the maps of youth violence in http://bit.ly/WzWMPm. Evaluate these maps and the overlay of the two and you have the map of school to prison pipeline, the map of dropouts, and the map of youth unemployment. All are near identical.

The act to close, co-locate and turnaround 71 community schools is the act of human beings destroying other human beings. This is the disaster I ask you to contemplate.

Ponder another parallel if you please. Have you noticed that unlike in the Vietnam years, we do not see the flag draped corpse of soldiers returning home from war, the children burning from napalm. It is not that wars have ended worldwide; it is just easier to avoid looking at the pain we propagate. On television screens in American homes, we do not see what broadcaster believe will hurt our eyes Oh, images are shown…of happy school children and stories that pass for success in our schools.

Shootings, hundreds and thousands each year? These occur on city streets. These are the catastrophes we do not see, but our children do. These are the devastation Moms and Dads, Aunts, Uncles, siblings and Guardians live with daily. Children’s lives are torn asunder …

That does not mean they are not there. Open your eyes look at what we have wrought and say no more. No more; not in my name!!!!!

Join us on March 27th in Chicago if you can http://www.ctunet.com/events/stop-school-closings-2013

Please call Chicago Alderman Their numbers can be found at… http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/other/dataset/wards.html Also, contact the Illinois State Senate Education Committee members.: Ask them to stop the impending disaster by enacting an immediate meaningful and enforceable moratorium on school closings.

Chairperson William Delgado 217-782-5652, Vice Chair Kimberly Lightford, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant 217-782-0052, Daniel Biss 217-782-2119, Bill Cunningham 217-782-5145, Iris Martinez 217-782-8191, Julie Morrison 217-782-3650, Michael Noland 217-782-7746, Steve Stadelman 217-782-8022, David Luechtefeld 217-782-8137, Jason Barickman 217-782-6597, Karen McConnaughly 217-782-1977, Sue Rezin 217-782-3840 and Chapin Rose 217-782-2960