Occupy This! Occupy your Future!

February 18, 2012:

Parents are occupying Brian Piccolo School on Chicago’s west side in a dramatic attempt to stop Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s closing plans.

Early Friday the parents tried to get a meeting with the mayor, or His Highness as he seems to prefer. No luck.

Some of the parents are inside. Some have set up camp outside. Piccolo is on Keeler off of Augusta in West Humboldt Park, among the poorest communities in Chicago. Go if you can; offer support.

Rahm wants to hand Piccolo over to private management, the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Recent studies fail to support any evidence that there is improvement in most of the schools run by AUSL.

Here is Declaration #1 from the Piccolo Occupation:

Declaration #1 from Piccolo occupation

11:49pm – February 17th, 2012

We, the Piccolo Occupation, are putting our childrens’ education first. Piccolo has failed because CPS has refused to invest in public education. The school has struggled for years but you have taken out all the programs, classes and opportunities to learn. We have had 3 principals in the last five years. We have not been able to work with anyone on a long-term basis to address the chronic disinvestment in our school. CPS and City Hall have failed us and our children. Your goal is to privatize the education system by giving it to corporations that support the mayor. We have been ignored, you have ignored our children and now you are trying to make money off of them.

The Chicago Public Schools is in violation of its own remediation and probation policy. CPS is in violation of the Illinois School Code and the Illinois Civil Rights Act. CPS is in violation of Illinois Senate Bill 630. Because of this, a moratorium has been introduced in the Illinois Legislative Assembly by the School Facilities Taskforce. We are enacting our moratorium for ourselves with this sit-in due to the fact that CPS not once has laid out the necessary corrective action for Brian Piccolo or Paolo Cassals along with the Local School Councils for getting them off of probation during the last five years. The School Improvement Plans for Academic Achievement (SIPAA) at these two schools have lacked the budgetary resources to bridge the achievement gap of our student populations. Further, the SIPAAs along with the budgets at the time of their signings have not had real community input. Therefor, these actions could very well be civil rights violations. At the recent CPS hearings, the former principle of Cassals testified that not once in the last five years had CPS met with her nor with the LSC about any of the necessary corrective action for Paola Cassals to be removed off of probation.

Because CPS has been not willing to meet with or listen to us, this is what we want:

1) A meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

2) A meeting with at least five of the Chicago School Board members present.

3) The removal of Piccolo and Cassals from the turnaround list.

Show some support today and head over to Brian Piccolo at Keeler and Augusta.

 Then on Monday at 4PM head over to Lake View High School at Ashland and Irving Park where the Chicago Teachers Union is holding a rally to tell Rahm to support public schools, not close them.

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