Teachers’ union calls charter school closings ‘racist’ but didn’t want them opened in the first place

When news broke on Monday that the Chicago Public Schools district was recommending the closure of two allegedly “poor” performing charter schools, the Chicago Teachers’ Union wasted no time condemning the proposal.

The Chicago Teachers Union believes that school closings are racist and irresponsible, especially when schools targeted for closure were once promoted as the future of Chicago Public Schools. This is what happens when “choice” is forced upon our communities as an alternative to traditional, neighborhood public schools. CPS starves these schools in the same manner as neighborhood schools, and leverages its racist SQRP school sorting, labeling and punishing model to do so.

 The proposed closure of Chicago Virtual and Frazier Preparatory Academy charter schools is an admission of failure by the district, and a continued attack on the lives of the city’s Black and Brown children. Our students need fully resourced and staffed schools that provide stability and are great places to work and learn. Closing a school is yet another blow for the children living in these low-income neighborhoods.

But what’s odd, according to expert union reporter Mike Antonucci, is “that the Chicago Teachers Union filed a lawsuit in 2006 to prevent the Chicago Virtual Charter School from opening in the first place.” Then-union President Marilyn Stewart called the charter school out for “violating” the Illinois School Code as a home-based charter school, but the case was dismissed.

So, Antonucci continues, “in the union’s mind it was illegal to open the school and racist to close it.”

It will be interesting to see which Democratic presidential candidate the teachers’ union ends up endorsing (despite the fact that unions shouldn’t be political in the first place). For example, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have called for a moratorium on charter schools, causing parents and families of black and brown students who support charter schools to protest the anti-choice education platforms.

Will the teachers’ union fiercely decry these attacks on the educational choices made by families of color? Or will they deal another blow to the children they supposedly stand up for by stripping them of the learning environment that meets their needs because the public schools failed to?