Save Collins High School

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Here we come

Tomorrow, February 9th, 2006, has been marked as D-Day on our calendars since this whole closing of Collins High School injustice began. It is the day of our public hearing before the Chicago Board of Education at 125 S. Clark. Well now it is here, and we are ready. We have come together, a group once in disarray, apart, selfish in our concern, to unite as teachers, and as a community, and as citizens of the free United States. Tomorrow we will stand before our accusers and we will be recognized. It will be loud, it will be rebellious, it will be honest, it will be just. The Chicago Board of Education wants to tell us we are not doing our jobs, we are not good enough, our best effort is only second best. We will tell them they are wrong. We will tell them that the teachers at Collins High School have not failed, but rather it is the administration at CPS that has failed, it is our mayor who has failed, it is the Chicago Board of Education that has failed. Given the grand opportunity to address the true failings of inner-city public education, did they come to our classrooms and talk to our students? Did they find out what those children really need? Did they talk to counselors, to teachers, to social workers? Did they walk home with our students, to see the very real dangers that exist on sidewalks, street corners, and alleyways? Did they care, for one minute, to talk to their parents, or guardians, about the difficulties these students have at home, or how the families are trying to cope? They did not, because they do not care.
They could have spent their money and their energy on creating a new public school system for all of America's inner-city poor. A separate system from that of the more affluent, higher achieving schools. One specifically designed to meet the different needs, educational, vocational, psychological, inspirational, of inner city students. They could have seized the opportunity to become the first city in America to say to its inner-city poor "we will not abandon you," and "we will not force you out." But they did not, because they do not care.
They say they are about education, but what has been proven to us these past two weeks, is that they are about money, personal advancement, and the cruel art of scapegoating, manipulating, and abusing the poor inner-city children of Chicago, and the tireless, perpetually optimistic believers who go into these communities every day to teach them.
We will not spend one more day taking these injustices quietly. Tomorrow we go to be heard. Some say the public hearing is but a formality, and that actual Board members won't be there, but we care not. This is our time, and regardless of who shows up, we will take it. We go to speak. We go to advance our directives without any prejudice beyond that which is best for our children. We go as Americans. We go as heroes. We go as Collins High School, on behalf of Collins High School, with all of the brothers and sisters of Collins High School, and we will speak for Collins High School, and we will stand, and we will be proud, and we will be fearless and mighty because we are Collins High School.

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