Action Now Parents Speak Out At CPS Turnaround Hearings: “Keep Your Hands Off Our Schools!”

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Media Alert


Action Now Parents Speak Out At CPS Turnaround Hearings: “Keep Your Hands Off Our Schools!”


What: Action Now parent leaders have been organizing against the proposed school turnarounds at McNair, Dvorak and Gresham elementary schools and will be attending the public hearings to speak out against CPS continuing to inflict failed policies that go against the wishes of parents, teachers, students and communities.


When: Hearings are today, April 2nd, 2014 from 6-8pm. Parents will be available for interview before and after the hearings.


Parent contacts:

  • McNair Elementary – Zerlina Smith (773) 418-0954
  • Dvorak Elementary – Lisa Russell (77) 301-2610
  • Gresham Elementary – Carolyn Kelly (312) 593-4608

Why: Action Now parents and community leaders fought hard against the historic school closings in 2013 and feel that “turnarounds” are simply school closings by another name. As parent leader Zerlina Smith stated, “Changing a school into an AUSL turnaround is just another way for the Mayor and Chicago Board of Education to privatize our public schools. Our schools aren’t failing, it is CPS that is failing to provide adequate resources for our children to be successful. They should try giving funds to our schools BEFORE the turnaround process and see how much they improve!”


Parents are concerned about the turnaround process’ detrimental effect on students because when all staff are fired, vital bonds between students, teachers and support staff are broken. McNair, Dvorak and Gresham schools are all located in low-income communities of color, and serve one of the most vulnerable populations of children in the city. Destroying the stability of a school community has a profoundly negative affect on students whose lives are already filled with uncertainty.


When CPS makes a school a turnaround, it fires all staff, turns the management over to the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL) and then gives AUSL huge amounts of money to run the school. It is a method that makes money for AUSL, but does not improve educational outcomes. CPS says it uses the turnaround method as a way to improve “failing” schools, yet there are several AUSL turnaround schools that are on academic probation. David Vitale, the current President of the Chicago Board of Education, used to be the Chair of AUSL. AUSL is a politically connected group of business people making money off of public education. Parents are standing up to the politically connected education profiteers of the Board of Education and AUSL to say, “Keep your hands off our schools!”


Action Now Communications contact:

Aileen Kelleher, (312) 351-0395,






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