Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.
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CTU marches against closings
Thousands of teachers, parents, students and supporters marched against school closings Wednesday, and more than 100 were arrested when they sat down on LaSalle Street in front of City Hall.
Valerie Nelson, who has two children at Lafayette Elementary in Humboldt Park, said she came to the rally because she is concerned closing the school will make her 6-year-old daughter who has autism "regress two years."
"Our school potty-trained her and she has started to talk," Nelson said. She is concerned that whatever school her daughter ends up at will not offer the same inclusive program that Lafayette does.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis urged protesters to "show up at your real school" come fall, signaling that the uproar over closings could continue all summer.
In a statement, schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said that "this is not easy for our communities. But as CEO of this district, I need to make decisions that put our children first. For too long, children at underutilized schools have been cheated of the resources they need to succeed."