In the article “Pushing Big Picture Reform” (Catalyst Chicago May/June 2008), you describe a number of groups working both for and against Chicago Public Schools’ new turnaround strategy. While providing a detailed list of the organizations that belong to the umbrella group known as PRISE, you give the false impression that Blocks Together is the only organization actively opposing the turnaround of Orr High School.
To the contrary, Blocks Together is in good company. A number of teacher, parent and community organizations have joined together in coalition to oppose the corporate-led privatization of neighborhood schools in Chicago.
These organizations include The Pilsen Alliance, Substance News, Clergy Committed to Community, The Southwest Youth Collaborative, Parents United for Responsible Education and the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization. All are prominent groups that have pushed against the move to close and reconstitute area schools.
I belong to a caucus in the Chicago Teacher’s Union known as CORE, which stands for the Caucus of Rank and File Educators. We represent a substantial number of paraprofessionals and teachers (both active and retired) who wholeheartedly oppose the turnaround tsunami as a harmful and haphazard policy. In May, at public meeting at the Board of Education, CORE joined with community organizations, including Blocks Together, to oppose the turnaround at Orr on the grounds that it maligns the reputation of veteran educators without cause and furthers the agenda of rapacious privateers who seek to dismantle the system of public education.
In the future, please contact those of us who work in concert with Blocks Together to give more depth and accuracy to your reporting.
Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE)