Education Reform

Chicago Board Closes Only High School Library in Bronzeville

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Things are hopping in Chicago. The Chicago Teachers Union is voting whether to strike. Protesters demand Rahm’s resignation for withholding the damning video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting. But the budget cuts keep coming. Why do the children who have the least get the least?

 

 

NEWS RELEASE
IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin
December 11, 2015 312-329-6250

Mayor’s Hand-Picked Board of Education Shutters Bronzeville’s only functioning neighborhood high school library
CHICAGO – This week, the librarian at Daniel Hale Williams (DHW) School, housed at the DuSable High School campus along with Bronzeville Scholastic Academy and the DuSable Leadership Academy, was notified that her position has closed. With the closure of the library on that campus, a resource that has been in continuous existence since the founding of this historic school, the mayor’s hand-picked Board of Education has shut down the only functioning library staffed with a fully-certified librarian in a Bronzeville neighborhood high school. The Chicago Teachers Union is outraged by this action.
“While it is not surprising that yet again, the burden of ‘broke on purpose’ budget cuts has fallen on the most segregated schools, this new disparity is alarming. CPS must restore these library programs,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey.
Over the last several years, the Chicago Public School’s dismantling of critical library programs has impacted every corner of the city, but has also led to a startling disparity where now only 7 percent (2 out of 28) of high schools with a student population over 90 percent African American has a library program staffed by a certified librarian. Across the 46 high schools with a majority African American student population, just 15 percent have librarians. In comparison, the dismal rate of librarian access across all CPS high schools is 32 percent. Such a deep disparity did not exist several years ago. In the 2012-2103 school year, 61 percent of high schools with a majority of African American students had a certified librarian on staff, compared to 69 percent across all district high schools.

The district’s refusal to stabilize their budgets with progressive revenue has led to annual cuts that have decimated our library programs, leading to librarian layoffs, librarians moving to other school districts, books of rooms without librarian staff, and in some cases, certified-librarians that have been shifted to teaching only the core English classes.
“We encourage parents, students and community members to demand that the Board restores the librarian at DHW so they can have a fully functioning library in their school,” Sharkey said. “This layoff is a taste of what is yet to come from a school district that closes schools, threatens to terminate 5,000 teachers and refuses to partner with the community to find real solutions to their budget problems.”

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 27,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in the Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the more than 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 and the largest local union in Illinois. For more information please visit CTU’s website at http://www.ctunet.com.
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