What: Action Now members in the Austin community are holding a protest at the “By The Hand Club” because residents are upset that a new charter school may be built at that location if Chicago Board of Education approves the new charter expansion proposals on January 22nd, 2014. The new charter proposal comes months after four Austin schools were closed during the historic mass shut down that have decimated communities across Chicago. 

When: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 at 4 p.m. 

Where: 415 N. Laramie (location of proposed charter school, as well as current home of By The Hand Club) 

Why: By The Hand Club is an organization affiliated with Moody Bible Institute and other private interests outside of the Austin community. The Director of By The Hand, Donnita Travis, is also the Chairperson of Chicago Education Partnership, which has submitted a proposal for a new charter school to be built at the current By The Hand location in Austin.

This new charter school is likely to be approved by the Board of Education only months after the board voted to close Francis Scott Key, Louis Armstrong, Horatio May and Robert Emmet elementary schools in the Austin community because of “underutilization” and “budget concerns.” CPS also slashed the budgets of remaining public schools, yet now are eager to open new charters that would cost taxpayers millions of dollars. 

Action Now’s Austin chapter voted to hold this protest because they believe that CPS is lying to them and that charter schools are stealing funds and resources from neighborhood public schools. CPS should not be privatizing public education by closing neighborhood schools in favor of opening more charters, when charters have not been proven to perform better that neighborhood schools and in many cases are more segregated and perform worse. 

Contact: Aileen Kelleher, (312) 351-0395akelleher@actionnow.org