It’s not uncommon for the election season to have plenty of misleading statements, but I still believe, above all else, the truth matters. A recent letter published in the Austin Weekly makes the false claim that I, as your alderman, did not oppose the controversial 2012-13 school closings in the 29th ward. The plain truth of the matter is over the past three years I have repeatedly and vocally opposed the school closings at every step of the way.
I don’t know if the author of this false statement attended any of the several community meetings and hearings where I spoke loudly and clearly on behalf of parents and students, or if he or she was present to hear me criticize a process that pits schools and families in the same community against one another, but I remember them clearly.
Even if one was not able to be present at one of the meetings where I stood shoulder to shoulder with my community to save our schools, a simple Google search of my name and “school closings” would show the very first link is a Progress Illinois headline from April 2013, which reads:
“Ald. Graham, Austin Community Makes Final Push to Save May and Armstrong Schools”
A further look into my education record would show I have fought for fair school funding, successfully brought in new resources to revitalize schools in our ward, worked with the Chicago Teachers Union to increase student safety and helped increase access to daycare in the community.
While I regret that we were not successful in the fight to keep our schools open, I hold my head high that I was on the right side of the school closings fight and I look forward to continuing to work each day for better schools and more education opportunities, because that’s what the people in the 29th ward deserve.
Deborah Graham, 29th Ward Alderman