On December 14th, Occupy Chicago Direct Action Flying Squad To “Turnaround” Mayor Emanuel’s “Failing” Office

Wed. 12/14

"Turnaround" the Mayor's Office
3pm - City Hall, 5th Floor
Chicago 12/12 – Since taking office, Rahm Emanuel has made privatizing Chicago's public schools a top priority. Building on the strategy of Arne Duncan, former head of CPS and architect of Renaissance 2010, Mayor Emanuel has continued to scapegoat teachers and school administrators. His policies are destabilizing Chicago’s schools through punitive, union-busting measures like the “Turnaround” program, under which a “failing” school’s existing staff is dismissed without cause by the Board of Education, and a new principal - specially trained to guide the overhaul - takes charge, hires new teachers and pushes for higher expectations, standardized test scores and discipline.

“Because we agree with his focus on accountability, we are requesting that "Mayor 1%" Emanuel schedule a meeting with us to address our concerns about his failing the 99% in Chicago,” says Joshua Kaunert, an Occupy Chicago committee member. “We understand that this meeting would be out of the Mayor’s comfort zone, as we can't bring any millionaire campaign donors to the table. If he doesn't agree to a meeting so that we can voice these concerns, we will have no choice but to "Turnaround" the Mayor's Office.”

If the request for a meeting is ignored, an Occupy Chicago Direct Action Committee flying squad will begin the Mayor's Office Turnaround at 3pm on Wednesday, December 14th on the 5th Floor of City Hall, just outside of Mayor Emanuel’s office. All Chicagoans are encouraged to attend.

“Acting in the best interest of Chicagoans means making difficult decisions and taking a tough stance against those who have used their wealth to manipulate our political system,” says Craig Pelkey, an Occupy Chicago flying squad member.  “After the ‘Turnaround’ of the Mayor’s Office, we will be accepting applications to fill those positions left vacant by the termination of Emanuel and his staff.”

The application will consist of the following questions:

1) Why should charter schools continue to be such a large part of the education reform plan, despite several recent studies that suggest that they don't out-perform public schools?

2) Small class size and access to a diverse curriculum are among the benefits children receive at the University of Chicago Lab Schools, where Mayor Emanuel's children attend classes. Why shouldn’t these same features be a priority for the students in CPS? 

3) Please explain how closing and limiting the hours of Chicago Public Libraries helps create an effective education reform plan?

4) Please explain how closing and privatizing the mental and physical health clinics contributes to increasing student achievement?

5) Children affected by the stress of foreclosure often exhibit lower academic performance as a result. Why shouldn’t a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions be part of any plan for education reform?

“Our elected officials must be held accountable to the people who elected them, not the campaign donors who lined their coffers.” says Micah Philbrook of Occupy Chicago. “December 14th provides the 99% an opportunity to measure Mayor Emanuel’s performance using the same standard that is used to gauge the performance of Chicago Public School’s teachers and administrators.”






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