We at Raise Your Hand support the Dyett 12 in their hunger strike and fight for a high quality, open enrollment, neighborhood high school.
Across Chicago, mainly on the south and west sides of the city, neighborhood high schools have been undermined for years. In our budget analysis this year, we found that 25 neighborhood high schools will again lose 10% or more of their staff positions this year, edging them closer to the closure list. Neighborhood high schools lost a net total of 12% and 10% of their budgets in FY2014 and FY2015. CPS has opened charter and other privately managed schools in areas of declining enrollment for years. See this visual map of schools that were opened just last school year mainly in areas where existing schools were already lacking resources. The orange dots indicate new charters/alternative schools and the blue dots indicate neighborhood high schools with budget info included. MAP
As a citywide parent and community organization, we support the Dyett community in their demand for an end to the continued and intentional disinvestment of neighborhood schools and an end to the myth of “school choice” in our city. Open-enrollment neighborhood schools serve all children – not just those who can test in to a school, have parents who know how to maneuver complicated application processes, can pay “school choice consultants” that do exist in this city, or can afford public transportation to go a high school across the city.
The proposed Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology High School would serve as a community hub for a neighborhood decimated by school closures, school disinvestment, and forced choices with the arrival of charters which lack the important community connection of Local School Councils, and that have effectively usurped enrollment, and therefore dollars, from the schools that remain.
This proposal was created as a collaborative effort between local community organizations, parents, students, teachers, and community members and can serve as a model for building stronger sustainable communities throughout Chicago. As CPS has put out an RFP for this building, we ask that CPS listen to the choice of the community and treat this matter with the urgency and respect that it deserves.