Chicago high school students skip PSAE, protest CPS closures - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago high school students skip PSAE, protest CPS closures

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago high school students protested outside the Board of Education's Wednesday meeting, foregoing PSAE testing to rally against the city's plan to close 54 CPS elementary schools.

More than 300 students were expected at school board headquarters – 100 students were present at Clark and Adams on Wednesday.

They said they want to send a message that "enough is enough," they won't just idly stand by as CPS closes these schools and they want more resources for all CPS schools.

These students, along with many teachers and parents, are not yielding to Mayor Emanuel and the district's plan. They call the closings an effort to close the $1 billion deficit and improve the quality of education for many CPS elementary students.

The group also boycotted the standardized Prairie State Achievement Exams they were supposed to take on Wednesday. They said the results of that test can change their educational path - but not in a good way. They told FOX 32 News that the PSAEs are not fair to begin with, so they shouldn't have to take them.

Some students told FOX 32 that they were some of the 68 juniors at Gage Park High School who were demoted to sophomore status right before the state achievement exam. They said the demotion was to keep them from taking the standardized tests.

Their act the civil disobedience is to skip school to protest the mayor's education agenda. But Mayor Emanuel said the school consolidation plan is not about privatization, but about trying to improve quality of education being offered to each CPS student.

"I felt like it was time to stand up for what's right," one student said. "I understand yes, today is a required test that we have to take in our state. But obviously I feel like right now we can make a bigger impact, we can make a bigger statement on the day of the test. We have nothing to lose."

The group who organized today's downtown and South Side protests is Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, and it's a coalition of elementary and high school students across the city.

CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett released this statement on Wednesday:

"The only place that students should be during the school day is in the classroom with their teachers getting the education they need to be successful in life. Today's PSAE is one of the most critical exams our students will take. Every adult should support and encourage our students to make sure they are in school."

Police has to clear and cord off the sidewalk around before midday on Wednesday, after receiving a report of an unattended bag. They found it to be harmless after conducting their investigation.

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