Monday, August 18: Chicago Students Union to Hold Press Conference & March to CPS Headquarters for Elected School Board & Student-Prioritized Funding

Members of Chicago Students Union announce plans to take control of their education and future by meeting with CPS principals and board members, proposing city-wide CPS student feedback system, and partnering with Chicago Votes to register all eligible students.

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—August 15, 2014. On Monday, August 18 the Chicago Students Union (CSU) — one of the nation’s largest student unions with members from grades 9 to 12 — will hold a press conference in Daley Plaza, march to Chicago Public Schools Headquarters, and demand a democratically elected school board and student-prioritized funding.

CPS students will hold a press conference and rally with a coalition of supporters including CPS teachers, administrators and elected officials in Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, at 12:00 PM. “We are organizing in 20 CPS schools and student voice in Chicago has never been more powerful!” says Avelardo Rivera, a senior at Whitney Young and a member of CSU. “For our school system to work, it has to be democratic. We demand an elected school board, student-prioritized funding, and that student voices be part of every level of decision making in our school system.”

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Press Conference Speakers Will Include:

Joseph Castro, Social Justice High School, Senior
Rosalina Torres, Whitney Young High School, Junior
Gabriel Portillo, Prosser Career Academy, Senior
Alexis Ayala, Infinity High School, Senior
Pedro Gonzalez, Prosser Career Academy, Senior
Ross Floyd, Jones College Prep, Senior
Sammy Cousino, Payton College Prep, Senior
Will Guzzardi, State Representative, 39th District

At 12:30 PM, students and supporters will march from Daley Plaza to the Chicago Board of Education, 125 South Clark Street. “We know CPS hears us and our demands for an elected Board of Education and fair funding,” says Baylee Champion a senior at Jones College Prep and a member of CSU. “We have met with the CPS Student Advisory Council, attended CPS Board of Education meetings, and are partnering with Chicago Votes to get every eligible CPS student registered to vote.”

Over 200 CPS students from dozens of schools have participated in CSU since it formed in 2013 in response to school closings in Chicago. Weekly meetings, completely organized and run by CPS students, draw 30-40 members. “At our meetings we share stories about what our individual schools need in terms of funding, courses and supplies,” says Pedro Gonzalez, a senior at Prosser Career Academy and a member of CSU. “Since we’ve gotten organized, we’ve met with CPS board member Jesse Ruiz to expose the lack of funds for supplies at Prosser. Our members reported that we were using books from 1993 with missing pages — even though the school had $100,000 left in discretionary spending at the end of the year. This is just one example of the Chicago Students Union fighting for students to get the resources we need.”

CSU members met with the CPS Student Advisory Council and proposed a new system for students to inform CPS about problems in their schools. The Chicago Students Union will continue to work with the Student Advisory Council to increase student power in CPS.

The Mission of the Chicago Students Union is to represent Chicago Public Schools students, protect student rights, engage students in education activism, and amplify the voices of students. CSU is working towards an end to public school closings, an elected school board, student-prioritized funding, and registering students to vote.

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Related Material:

November 2013: Chicago students ‘go zombie’ to protest public school closures via Al Jazeera America

August 2013: CPS Students Launch ‘Union’, Demand Voice In District’s Decision-Making Process via Progress Illinois 

August 2013: Chicago Students Boycott Class, Demanding an Elected and Accountable School Board via In These Times

June 2013: YouTube – Chicago Students Speak Out at Board of Education Meeting

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