Network 49 Shares By-laws and Endorsement Process for 2018

At its November 15 General Membership Meeting, Network 49 shared its inaugural bylaws and membership structure, and proposed candidate endorsement process. These materials have been developed by resident leaders on the Steering Committee and working committees. 25 residents joined at the November meeting and paid their $30 annual dues. A membership form for those who could not attend the meeting is available here.

Kathleen Dillon presents the Network 49 bylaws at the November 15 meeting.

 

 

At its January 2018 meeting, Network 49 will welcome nominations to and then elect members to serve on a new Steering Committee AND make endorsements for the March 2018 Illinois Gubernatorial Primary, as well as other races that will be decided in March.

All of these activities are part of our work to create an independent, progressive, and resident-led organization for promoting progressive policies and elected leadership.

We Challenged Charter Expansion in Rogers Park – and WON!

CPS’s Office of Innovation and Incubation held a hearing on Monday, August 21 to consider CMSA’s request for an additional 100 student seats. After hearing from so many opponents to charter school expansion, including dozens from Network 49, they decided NOT to recommend approval of the request to the Board of Education. In other words, we won.


Victories against school privatization are hard fought and don’t come often.  It’s why we are pleased to share the news that charter school Chicago Math and Science Academy’s request to expand by 100 seats next year was NOT recommended by CPS or even included as an agenda item at the most recent August 28 Board of Education meeting.

Network 49 and its allies have been clear that we do not want any charter school expansion in Rogers Park – no new schools, new campus buildings, and no additional seats. We organized a ballot referendum in 2016 and 63% of voters sided with us. So did State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, State Senator Heather Steans, and US Rep. Jan Schakowsky. Only Alderman Joe Moore has consistently been in favor of new charters coming to our neighborhood and expansion of existing charters.  Despite our community’s clear and unequivocal position, but perhaps feeling that the Alderman would swing CPS in their favor, CMSA advanced a proposal to expand by 100 seats.

As we did before and as we will continue to do, our resident volunteer leaders mobilized to stop this expansion. Dozens of our members joined in sending letters to CPS and hundreds acted on Facebook to support our campaign, which received over 8,000 views. If you were one of the people who stepped up, Thank you for YOUR advocacy!

Charter schools divert students and resources from neighborhood schools. Study after study shows that charters educate no better than neighborhood schools, while being less transparent and less welcoming of special needs students and English language learners. These are NOT the schools we need in Rogers Park’s diverse community! Our local neighborhood schools are much improved and are growing, with Sullivan HS and Senn HS in Edgewater boosting enrollment by 100 students apiece. (By comparison, CMSA reported to the Chicago Board of Education they are 40 students short of filling their current capacity!).

Network 49 believes that all our public schools should offer high quality educational opportunities that meet the diverse needs of students in our community. We are opposed to privatization schemes like vouchers and charter schools and we will continue to fight for our schools. We are glad that you are with us in this fight.

For more information, contact Carol Reichel at carolreichel@sbcglobal.net

N49 Survey Says: Political Mobilization is Needed

At our May general membership meeting, we were pleased to share the results of our recent member survey. By way of background, we sent an 8-question survey to our members and asked them to evaluate some of our recent priorities and share ideas for what is concerning them right now. We also asked for their feedback on whether our organization should start collecting dues and if so, what amount.

We found that our members affirmed in large part what we are currently focused on:

  • “Maintaining Rogers Park’s economic and racial diversity in housing and community development” came in first, with a weighted average of 4.56/5.0;
  • “Helping progressive candidates win elections” was next, at 4.52/5.0;
  • “Making Rogers Park a safe and just community for all” was a close third at 4.50/5.0;
  • “Protecting our Public, Neighborhood Schools” was right next, at 4.46/5.0.

So where do we take up these concerns?

  • Housing & Community Development is tackling the first one.
  • Safe Community Task Force is working on the third, along with our partners at Protect RP.
  • The Education Committee has been tackling the fourth and is an issue with which Network 49 is strongly identified, thanks to the success of the Charter Freeze referendum on Nov. 9, 2017. Their ongoing leadership at work in Sanctuary schools, the fight for elected school board and more provide a model to the rest of our committee work.
  • The Politics Committee takes on the largest issue of members’ discontent: voter dissatisfaction with current politicians, from the Ward to the National level.

Frankly, our respondents are irate about a whole host of issues that involve political change. Network 49 will be engaging in voter education through a planned Community Canvass, beginning in June (look for details on Network 49 facebook and Web pages), ongoing Forums addressing the key issues, Voter Registration, and continued organizing with our neighbors.

Some respondents want Network 49 to field candidates, but our focus is on organizing our members to resist, expose and fight hypocrisy, lack of transparency, and elected officials simply not doing their jobs for the people wherever and whenever we can. But we are not just about resisting. We are working to affirm our values and help our members engage constructively in pushing for what we want, not just what we oppose.

We welcome people interested in running for elected office to share their interests to us and to speak before our members. If the survey is any indication, they will be well-received!

Alderman Joe Moore responds to Network 49 – affirms support for charter expansion

On March 14 a letter, Network 49 delivered a letter to Alderman Joe Moore, requesting a response by March 19. It stated in part:

“We are writing with great concern regarding two proposals for local charter expansion that have been recently submitted to CPS… Our community needs to know where you stand on these proposals. The timetable for action on these proposals is short and means that a response from you is urgent.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

Alderman Moore’s response, delivered on March 30, finally broke his silence: he’s supporting charter school expansion. (Read Alderman Moore’s full letter here).

Last November, 2/3 of RP voters made it clear that they are against any charter expansion in our neighborhood. In identical letters to Network 49, LSC members, and residents who had pressed him for an answer about the CMSA expansion request, Joe Moore stated

“Though advisory referenda inform my decision making, I do not consider them controlling.”

Alderman Moore has clearly reached the end of his fling with participatory democracy. If you’re a Rogers Park resident, please join the effort of Ya Basta, Enough Already, No to more Charter Seats in Rogers Park. and Network 49 and sign our “virtual postcard” against charter expansion! You can sign here: https://goo.gl/forms/WFeqdMnpW97PlOj83. Invite your RP friends to sign, too!

Network 49 Statement on Proposed Charter School Expansion in Rogers Park

Rogers Park neighborhood schools, already struggling with budget cut after budget cut, now face the threat of losing additional thousands of dollars due to proposed charter expansion.

Our neighborhood schools have already been severely impacted by two large charter schools – Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA) and UNO-Rogers Park. They have  siphoned off more than 1,000 local students into privatized education – which lacks much of the transparency, accountability, and parent involvement that is integral to public education.

National research indicates that privately-run charters do not perform better than public schools, and are more segregated.

The 49th Ward community has already spoken clearly against moves to privatize our public education through the “No to Noble” coalition of parents and community activists, which was joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, State Senator Heather Steans, and State Representative Kelly Cassidy.

The Network 49 “Charter Freeze” referendum, opposing any new charter expansion in the 49th Ward, won the support of 62.6% (11,342 votes) on last November’s ballot. 

Alderman Joe Moore, however, continues to ignore the majority of his constituents on this issue.  He has been holding private meetings with charter operators for months, with no communication to the community as a whole, not even to his own neighborhood school organization, CORPS.

Two proposals for new and expanded charter schools in Rogers Park are now being considered by CPS:

  • CMSA has requested that 100 more high school students be added to the school over four years, increasing its student body from 600 to 700. Sullivan High School would be directly and negatively affected. The loss of 100 students represents about $500,000 in annual funding.
  • A Michigan-based Assyrian charter organization, KEYS Nineveh Academy, has proposed creating a k-5 charter school, which would provide Assyrian cultural education and aims to “incorporate the heritage of Iraqi Christians,” according to the organization’s president. Network 49 recognizes that all our many immigrant communities need special attention and resources. We are committed to creating the safest and most welcoming community possible during these difficult times. But we also know that our neighborhood schools have worked tirelessly to serve immigrant children, and we will continue to fight for strengthening these schools, rather than further dividing up our communities and slicing away already inadequate funding.

We ask all residents and organizations of Rogers Park to contact Alderman Moore at 773-338-5796 with a clear message to stop diversion of our scarce public dollars to privatized charters and away from our public neighborhood schools in Rogers Park.

A Big Difference: Alderman Moore’s Committee on Rogers Park Schools (CORPS) and the Education Committee of Network 49

Several days ago, Alderman Joe Moore announced the formation of a new community committee he was sponsoring, called CORPS. The stated purpose of CORPS is to publicize and support the six non-charter neighborhood schools in the 49th Ward. A number of our members have asked us about the timing of this new initiative.

Since the late summer of 2015, Network 49 has been deeply involved in supporting our neighborhood schools. We believe the privatization of public education – through the expansion of charters and potentially with publicly funded vouchers, is undermining our neighborhood schools. Our work culminated in a referendum for the November 8 ballot, calling for a “freeze” on any new charter expansion in our ward. The referendum gained over 11,000 votes and was supported by 63% of voters. Alderman Moore was the only neighborhood elected official who opposed our referendum. Alderman Moore has also consistently opposed an elected school board for Chicago, and instead supports the appointment of all board members by the Mayor.

Alderman Moore has been a champion of charter schools in Rogers Park for years. He has steadfastly supported the Chicago Math and Science Academy, our first charter, even though residents were opposed to it. He supported the opening of UNO high school, ignoring ongoing investigations into UNOs school construction and contracting practices. And emails released in late 2016 show he was actively scheming with Mayor Emanuel to bring a Noble Network Charter School to Rogers Park, while denying publicly any such plan existed. This is his record on charters.

Alderman Moore also launched a plan in 2016 that would have led to the consolidation of two of our neighborhood schools to give Decatur Gifted a campus in our community. As best we can tell, he did not consult with the LSCs or the community before announcing the plan, which was cancelled because it violated CPS policies.

And now we have CORPS. While the proof of CORPS will be in the pudding, we are concerned the central thrust of CORPS is to create a support group for the schools, rather than one that advocates on their behalf. We don’t oppose supporting local schools. But we believe what will make a bigger difference is to encourage our members and neighbors to attend and support the local school councils and school events and to get involved in any way they can. It is this community self-education and knowledge that will create the staunch local allies our schools need.

But even more importantly, our concern is that CORPS does not address the central issues facing our schools: continued privatization (charters/vouchers), lack of a democratically-elected school board, unfair and inadequate school funding, and the siphoning of school funds into unnecessary TIFs. These are the areas where Alderman Moore needs to use his voice and his office.

In the meantime, Network 49 is moving on with our work. Through grassroots organizing and under the leadership of neighborhood residents, we will fight – in our community and through collaborations with other neighborhood and city-wide public-school advocacy organizations – to put neighborhood schools first.

We invite you to join us!

Protect Our Community – Rogers Park Neighborhood Action Meeting

~450 residents attended our co-hosted event. Photo courtesy Michael Harrington.
Photo courtesy Maricela Graciosa

Protect Our Community: Rogers Park Neighborhood Action Meeting

Mon, Feb 13 from 7pm – 8:30pm

Living Waters Church, 6808 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, IL

(corner of Pratt and Ashland)

Are you a resident of Rogers Park who is deeply concerned about the actions taken by the new President against Muslims, immigrants, and refugees in America? Are you worried about how your neighbors, friends, and loved ones might be targeted?

Join with other Rogers Park neighbors for a community-wide meeting. We’ll learn more about the implications of these new executive orders and brainstorm ways we can join together to keep our neighbors and neighborhood safe. One aspect of this will be creating a rapid response network aimed at protecting residents from unwanted incursions by government agencies. This network will:

1) Warn people if there is an incursion by law enforcement aimed at vulnerable communities.

2) Create and activate a safe harbor network for people needing sanctuary or help.

3) Mobilize the community to oppose the incursion and resolve it peacefully.

Organized by concerned Rogers Park neighbors, Network 49, Reclaim Chicago, A Just Harvest, and ONE Northside.

Network49 Encourages Participation at LSC Meetings

Each neighborhood public school has a leadership committee comprised of parents, teachers, and community members called a Local School Council, or LSC. The LSC is where the school stakeholders work together to improve the schools and provide advice and feedback to school administrators and CPS. Network 49 members are involved in LSCs and want you to support them, too. A great way is to attend their monthly meetings (usually not more than an hour and often less) and learn what is going on, then offer your assistance as best you can.

Here is a list of regularly scheduled meetings.

To read about LSCs on the Chicago Public Schools’ website, visit this page.


(Always confirm the time and location ahead of time, as things can change at the last minute).

Field Elementary (5th grade through 8th grade)
7019 N. Ashland Ave. — 1st Fri, 9:00 a.m.

New Field Elementary (Pre-k-through 4th grade)
1707 W. Morse — 2nd Wed, 4:00 p.m.

Kilmer Elementary (Pre-k through 8th grade)
6700 N. Greenview 2nd Wed, alternates between 7:00 a.m. start and 6:00 p.m. on alternating months

Sullivan High School (9th grade through 12th grade)
6631 N. Bosworth — 2nd Friday of the month, 9:45 a.m.

Gale Elementary (Annex) (Pre-k through 8th grade)
7650 N. Marshfield 3rd Wed of the month, 3:45 p.m.

Jordan Elementary (Pre-k through 8th grade)
7414 N. Wolcott — 3rd Tuesday of the month, 5:30 p.m.

 

 

Network49 Educates Senators About Betsy Devos

At its recent Education Committee meeting, members of the committee took time to contact Senators to educate them about Ms. DeVos’ long record of efforts to privatize public education. Ms. DeVos champions privately-run charter schools funded with taxpayer dollars. She champions using tax payer dollars to fund vouchers for students to attend parochial and religious-themed schools. She is fiercely opposed to the right of workers to collectively organize for their members. She and her affiliated organizations and foundations have provided the primary support to all sorts of fringe, discredited, and debunked groups and theories. Her record shows that she is diametrically opposed to ensuring all students equal protection and access to quality public education.

Committee members made calls to the 19 U.S. Senators on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. If you would like to call or email the Senators on that list, please follow this link.