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The Mechanics
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Education Wed May 26 2010

Thousands of CPS Teachers, Students March on City Hall During Rush Hour

Chicago teachers were out en masse yesterday, protesting against teacher layoffs and proposed expansion of class sizes outside of city hall.


Photos by Isaac Silver

A crowd of several thousand teachers were visibly fed up with the local and national discourse blaming them for Chicago's and the U.S.'s education crises. The most frequent target of their ire was Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman, who appeared on signs and at the end of chants calling for his departure from CPS.


Anger at CPS administration has long been brewing among teachers, parents, and students for some time over what Mechanics editor Ramsin Canon called a "slow-burn privatization model" that has entailed school closings, teacher layoffs, and a recent proposal to increase class sizes by up to 25 percent. And the recent revelation that top CPS brass have taken raises as they try to chip away at a $900 million budget deficit has certainly not quelled teacher outrage.

Moselean Parker, a K-8 literacy coach at McKay Elementary on the South Side, said she was "appalled" at the "hypocrisy" of Huberman.

"If he's not measuring himself to the same standards as teachers, he needs to go," she said as hundreds decked in red t-shirts marched behind her.

She expressed anger that teachers were being blamed for the dismal state of education nationally.

"[Administrators and elected officials] created this problem, we didn't," she said. "We all know there are bad teachers , but don't put all of us in the same boat.

"The vast majority of teachers are professionals. We come in on Saturdays for professional development days. If they offered classes on Sundays, half of us would go to early church services so we could go to PD classes afterwards."

CPS students marched alongside their teachers. Porter Hopps, a sophomore at King College Prep in Hyde Park, attended the rally because expanded class sizes would be "uncontrollable."

"Every day of class would be a waste of time," he said.

The march came on the heels of CTU elections, in which the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), a reform caucus within the teachers union, forced a runoff election against the United Progressive Caucus and current President Marilyn Stewart. If CORE wins the runoff and takes over the CTU, tensions between the union and CPS administration could be on the rise.

 
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About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
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