“You should be investing in these schools, not closing them. You should be supporting these schools, not closing them. We shall not be moved today. We’re going to City Hall … We are not going down without a fight.”
Asean Johnson, a nine-year-old Chicago schoolboy, took full advantage of the opportunity to speak to a crowd protesting the closure of city schools. Residents gathered for several days to protest Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision for a downsized school system, which he claims will help “combat a massive budget deficit and allow the district to distribute scarce resources more efficiently,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
Watch Johnson stir the crowd like no elementary schooler you’ve seen:
Despite the protests, the Board of Education voted to close 49 schools. But, amazingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, Asean’s Marcus Garvey Elementary was spared the axe. Partial victory for a future president?
The board voted 6-0 to back Emanuel on closing 48 elementary schools and one high school program. The vote to close Von Humboldt Elementary was broken out, and passed 4-2.
The board’s solid support for the long, controversial slate of closings came as little surprise to his critics, chief among them the Chicago Teachers Union, which last week filed two federal lawsuits seeking to block the district from following through on its plan. …
Emanuel held no public events Wednesday, but his office released a statement after the vote in which he acknowledged closings were “incredibly difficult” but added, “I firmly believe the most important thing we can do as a city is provide the next generation with a brighter future.”