Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Action Council votes in favor of keeping Dyett open, high stakes testing resolution

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization organizer Jitu Brown displays renderings of the plan for Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., recently endorsed by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Action Council.
Kenwood Oakland Community Organization organizer Jitu Brown displays renderings of the plan for Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., recently endorsed by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Action Council.

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Action Council (HP-K CAC) voted in support of keeping Dyett High School open at its August meeting. The council also signed a national resolution on high-stakes testing.

Dyett

Ever since Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced its plans, in 2012, to phase out Dyett High School, 555 E. 51st St., the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization has been organizing to keep the school open. Through its efforts the organization for the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, which made up of seven organizations from across the city that includes educators, parents and community organization activists and the group has been petitioning to keep the school open by transforming it into a “Global Leadership and Green Technology,” open enrollment neighborhood school.

Having struggled to gain full support from the Bronzeville Community Action Council and Ald. Will Burns (4th) the coalition sought support from the HP-K CAC.

After hearing the testimony from the coalition, reading the group’s full report and reviewing comments from Burns, Denise Hill, president of the HPKCAC, said the group supports “the alderman’s efforts to keep Dyett open as an open-enrollment school and we support many features in the current proposal from the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett.”

The U.S. Department of Education has opened a federal investigation into the Title VI Civil Rights Violations at Dyett High School. The Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School and Rainbow Push have joined together and announced their intent to launch a Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology school,” which they say will begin accepting freshmen on Sept. 15, 2015. The group has set up a planning meeting at the school from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014.

High-stakes testing

HP-K CAC also voted at the meeting to endorse a resolution critical of high-stakes testing. In doing so, HP-K CAC joins other Hyde Park institutions including Murray and Ray elementary schools, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and other schools across the nation that are seeking to put an end to high stakes testing.

HP-K CAC voted to sign a resolution showing its support of Time Out From Testing (TOFT), a national campaign that is seeking to put an end to the way standardized tests are used to determine student promotion and teacher evaluation.

On a more local level the organization More Than A Score has been leading a campaign encouraging parents to use their right to “opt-out” or refuse to allow their children to be given standardized tests.

In the resolution the school is calling on the governor, state legislature and board of education to reexamine how it uses tests results and develop a new system that does not rely heavily on standardized tests to determine student learning and teacher effectiveness.

The resolution also calls for an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act, which would reduce the number of mandated tests, the strict set of guidelines toward preparing for the tests and fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.

d.phillips@hpherald.com