Why hunger strikers will continue to starve for Dyett

To the Editor

The parents, grandparents and community members from the Committee to Revitalize Dyett, that have engaged in a 19 day hunger strike, were rightfully outraged when CPS CEO Forest Claypool announced a last minute, somewhat clandestine plan for Dyett High School. Flanked by a group of “leaders,” the majority of whom have either not been involved in efforts to keep Dyett open, or in one case an organization that was actually involved in the “rent-a-protest” scandal, in which organizations paid people many of whom were economically disadvantaged to call for Dyett’s closure, Claypool touted the credibility of a plan that has not been made available to the public in its entirety. According to CPS, a decision was to be reached regarding the three proposals submitted in CPS’ own RFP process by August 26, 2015. The decision to move critical dates during the RFP process without adequate public notice is one of the key factors that led to the hunger strike.

It is important to once again set the record straight:

1) The parents and leaders from the Committee to Revitalize Dyett put consistent, public pressure on both Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Will Burns to reverse the decision to close Dyett. The numerous actions that caused them to change course are publicly documented—– this was not done out of the goodness of the hearts.

2) Representative Christian Mitchell has not publicly spoken out or taken action to address the closure of Dyett, the injustices that the last few graduating classes endured, the displacement of school staff impacted by the closure or the plan for a new school at Dyett. The notion that he attended a press conference regarding a last minute plan for the future of Dyett was insulting to the parents, grandparents and community leaders that have worked to keep this school open.
After taking well over $100,000 from special interest groups that support school closures and disempowering unions, it is incredulous for him to assert that he has fought for Dyett.

3) Including representatives from the KLEO center in the press conference, the very organization that paid protesters $20 a piece according to WBEZ and the Catalyst, to call for Dyett’s closure only adds insult to injury.
The families of Washington Park and Bronzeville deserved a fair process in which CPS kept its promise to make a decision by August 26, 2015. CPS should have honored its own process; they should not have selected a plan that was not submitted in the publicly announced/vetted process. A decision should have been reached regarding the three proposals that were submitted to CPS, period.

Jay Travis