[Chicago Public Schools] decided in 2012 to close [Dyett High School], citing low enrollment and poor performance. In June, just 13 seniors graduated. CPS has been accepting applications from organizations for a new, reimagined school in the Bronzeville facility. But CPS rejected the protesters’ Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology Community High School concept.
On Thursday, CPS’ new Chief Academic Officer Janice Jackson said it’s possible that no school may take over the Dyett space.
“It’s important to be straightforward about the obstacles to opening another high school in this area, considering the fact that they have declining enrollment and we have existing high schools there that are under-enrolled,” Jackson said.
“We don’t want to open a new school and then have those schools competing when they’re already in a position where they’re fighting over the same children.”
* There are, indeed, quite a few other schools in the area…
“I would remind everybody what they’re trying to work through, within a 3-mile radius there’s 10 high schools,” Emanuel said when asked about the hunger strike at an unrelated event. “Within about a mile of the school is King College Prep. So there’s a lot of high schools in that area, and how do you talk about another one when even some of the high schools that are within the 3-mile radius are not at capacity yet?”
* Let’s go back a bit to August 17th…
Twelve supporters of revitalizing Chicago’s Dyett High School campus began a hunger strike Monday morning as they continue their call for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system to adopt a long-proposed community plan to turn Dyett into a “global leadership and green technology” high school.
The Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, which created the plan to re-open Dyett as a global leadership and green technology school, spearheaded the hunger strike. The 12 hunger strikers, including community and faith leaders, education activists and public school parents, held their protest outside the now-closed school, located in the Washington Park neighborhood at 555 E. 51st St.
“We are tired of our voices not being heard,” said hunger striker Jitu Brown with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, one of many groups behind the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School. “There has to be accountability to the public for the destabilizing of schools in our community and the sabotage of our children’s education.”
Brown said the hunger strikers will only drink water and “light liquids” and are prepared to remain outside Dyett “as long as the creator allows us to be out here.”
KOCO is the major force behind the Dyett coalition. It has also tried to stop neighborhood “gentrification” by protesting against a new Mariano’s grocery store in Bronzeville. The group has long battled Ald. Will Burns, and its former executive director lost to Burns’ ally state Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) in the Democratic primary last year, despite strong financial and other support from the Chicago Teachers Union. The CTU supports KOCO’s push to take over the Dyett school.
And despite the proclaimed focus on a “science-based” curriculum, the activists have another goal for their prospective students…
It would focus on leadership skills and training students to engage in the political process.
Local politicos who are not KOCO fans ain’t eager to see that happen, to say the least.
* From August 26th…
Although plagued by violence, poverty and a scarcity of grocery stores and retailers, the neighborhood is also undergoing a modest rejuvenation. A new shopping center with a major grocer opened this year. And there has been an influx of new condos and multi-unit developments. The neighborhood is being considered for the Obama Presidential Library.
Yet long-term residents complain that they don’t have a quality, open-enrollment school where they can send their children.
“I will stand here and I will fight … until the last breath I have,” Robinson said outside the school Wednesday. Robinson, a grandmother who had nine children attend Dyett, had been hospitalized Monday.
Keep in mind that KOCO fought against that grocery store development.
* But the hunger strikers aren’t just battling CPS to keep the school open. They’re also at odds with rival groups which are also attempting to open a school on the site. From August 26th…
On Monday the strikers, as well as supporters, gathered at Little Black Pearl Art & Design Academy, 1060 E. 47th St., to hand over a letter to President Monica Haslip.
“On Behalf of the Coalition to Revitilize Dyett, we respectfully urge you to withdraw your proposal for Dyett High School,” the letter stated, which had the signatures of all of the hunger strikers. […]
“I’m crying because I’m tired,” Ramann said, who is a parent of a child in the Dyett school boundary area. “We live in a city that doesn’t value us and our opinions because we are Black.”
* But Mary Mitchell strongly cautioned against attacking Ms. Haslip…
Haslip is the director of the celebrated Little Black Pearl Studio in Bronzeville. She’s been recognized nationally for her work serving youth in Kenwood-Oakland and Bronzeville.
She presented a proposal to reopen Dyett as an arts academy. […]
Black people shouldn’t have to tear each other down in order to build the community up.