Students Sound-Off on CPS Board

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationWhen the Board of Education announced the closing of 49 elementary schools along with massive budget cuts, students across the city decided not to accept the news lightly. “We will take it upon ourselves to fight for the future of education in Chicago,” said Israel Munoz, a recent graduate of Kelly High School. With that sentiment, Munoz, along with students from various public across the city, created Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, a student-led organization to give students the platform to address their concerns over the quality of education to the Board of Education. Throughout last month, Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools held a succession of meetings and protests outside CPS headquarters and campaigned for others to join in their efforts. During a Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools meeting held last week, a couple of student members shared their feelings towards the Board of Education and what they should keep in mind.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationLawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationBeatrice Ebijimi, 18, Graduate of Lincoln Park High School
“I want to do everything in my power to get justice for teachers, for students, for everybody in our community. Education is for us, it’s for the people, so I want to get justice for me, for them, for everyone involved. To have an actual organization based of students is very important and it will help us get our point across. The fact that my elementary school is one of the schools to be closed is devastating to me because I had the best memories and it helped shape who I am today. It saddens me that other kids from my neighborhood won’t have the chance to attend. If people knew the injustices being brought on by CPS to the people of this city, to the students, the 5 to 18 year-olds of this city, everyone will want to be on our side.”

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationIsrael Munoz, 18, Graduate of Kelly High School
“Growing up on the South Side of Chicago our schools haven’t always had the best access to resources. Now with these school closings in our communities, CPS is putting schools on a collision course of failure. We want Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Board of Education to pay attention to the students. We are the ones sitting in the classrooms, they are sitting in their offices. We are the ones going to school everyday, they already visit our schools. We know lot more about our schools than they ever could imagine. We want more transparency and we want a board that reflects us as students.”

Avelardo Rivera, 15, Whitney Young student
“We have a voice. We may be young, but we understand the needs of students across the city and we need the Board of Education to show us the respect that we deserve. We are stepping up and asking for a change. We care about our education.”

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