By Jim Vail
The final announcement that 50 schools will be closed, and a mere five stay open was quite a shock.
But was it a surprise.
I will say again, it is the mayor who was elected with a mandate from those who gave him the money to close as many public schools, and open as many charter schools as you can.
They say he was burned during the strike, so he came back swinging hard on the school closings.
Did all the protests and concerns raised in the media matter at all?
Of course not. We do not live in a real democracy. Mayor Emanuel answers to the people who pay for him to be there. The Bill Gates Foundation. The Walton Foundation. The Civic Federation.
It is big business that runs this country.
We the people can protest, raise concerns, let it be known we do not want it.
But in the end they do it. So what do we do?
Well, we have to continue the fight. But the question is, why do people still believe in our political system? What is the point of voting for democrats when Emanuel, a democrat, does not listen to the people anyway.
Well, we elected him, didn't we? We certainly did. That is where I hope more and more people realize we cannot do that. Until we get candidates who listen to the people, and not the big business people who fork over the money to run a campaign, life will only continue to get worse and worse in this country.
Below are the words of Ald. Joe Moreno who expressed his concerns after the school closings fight.
Today is the one of the most disappointing days I have had as a member of the City Council. The fact that the Board of Education voted to close DuPrey/Von Humboldt and Lafayette upsets and angers me greatly.
I will never forget those who took this misguided action, which has left the East Humboldt Park Community without a public elementary school.
Despite my negative feelings, I am also filled with pride about the fight and rational case we made to keep these schools open. The people I have worked with on this issue over the last few months have been inspirational and I know we all did our best.
The votes to close the 49 schools were all unanimous EXCECPT DuPrey/Von Humboldt, which was 4-2. This fact ultimately provides little solace, but indicates the effectiveness of our arguments and passion.
I had hoped that my efforts, along with those of the community, were enough to keep these schools open. I never fight just for the sake of it. In fact, my pet-peeve is politicians who do that. Even though today we lost this battle; we lost on our feet.
I want to thank the parents, teachers and community members who spent countless hours organizing, planning, and pouring their hearts and souls into saving our schools.