Have Whittier Parents Won?

They've won for now, and showed what an organized effort can do -- but have they won for long, and what exactly are they getting (besides a degree of respect)?  A roundup of the coverage:  In Pilsen, activists succeed in stopping construction of library they fought for: Pilsen parents who once staged a 43-day sit-in to get a library at Whittier Elementary School now have succeeded in getting the project halted... Brizard Can't Ignore Whittier Parents Newstips:  Their plan deserves a hearing. Especially if Brizard expects his rhetoric about the importance of parent and community involvement in schools to have any credibility... Whittier Library Construction Stopped: Community activists have won a battle with Chicago Public Schools over the building of a new library at Whittier Elementary School.


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  • What have they won? It looks like they still won't have a library next school year.

    And on the public relations front, it's a disaster. The Tribune article was not sympathetic. It reported

    *less than half the "Whittier parents" are actually parents of students at Whittier. The others are "community activists", "CTU members", and "leftists." (The photo shows a man wearing his CORE T-shirt.)
    *some of the key leaders and spokespersons for the group have political agendas;
    *while the Board of Ed kept its part of the bargain from last fall, the protesters hav added new demands;
    *the group is responsible for the Board of Education wasting $150 thousand due to construction delays incurred by the protest;
    *the Board of Ed refutes the group's claims that special ed students will have nowhere to go

    Granted, I'm somewhat skeptical about the Board's claims that it cost them $150K last week, but the more facts that come to light on this make the Whittier "parents" look pretty bad. Kind of like...losers.

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    In reply to Danaidh:

    I think that article comments more poorly on the Chicago Tribune than the Whittier parents. The fact that some political elements are supporting something shouldn't negate the fact that the parents voices need to be heard. The difference is not that there are SOME non-parent allies on the Whittier side; the difference is that there are NO parents' perspectives on the other side...

  • Have the Whittier parents won? No! The Whittier parents are now in for another long fight!

  • more on what the tribune got right (and mostly wrong) about the whittier story, from curtis at newstips

    "The Chicago Tribune wants to hold Whittier parents to account for the costs of delaying a new library at the Pilsen elementary school. There’s another way of looking at it. You could also hold CPS leadership to account for commencing the project in a manner that seemed designed to foment a confrontation. You might even ask about contracts being let before the Board of Education approved the project. And it would be interesting to get a breakdown of the $150,000 that CPS officials claim as the cost of the construction delay – quite arguably due to their mismanagement of a delicate situation."


  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Alex, is there any documentation from the the CPS and/or Whittier Parents as to what was agreed to? Is there anything in writing? Seems strange that there is a lot of drama and "he said" she said" and yet nothing online in terms of a "contract" or "agreement". Can anyone forward a scanned document of the agreement to Alex Russo to post? Otherwise, we will continue to see rhetoric fly.

  • Seems the kids could have had a library now! Come the new year there will be no library! WTF! They could have worked on getting the field house renovated in addition. Sounds like the leaders of the parents group are on a big ego trip. The one's getting hurt are the kids.

  • Should not good reporters in general, have access to key documents before writing an article. Otherwise, it sounds like some of these writers, are writing op ed pieces. Seems we need honest investigative reporting on this issue.

  • I too am totally confused regarding the Whittier protest. What was the agreement? Is there a CPS agreement with the High school having a soccer field and thus tearing down the field house? I would really like to know the facts since I would like to support the Whittier parents but not if THEY have broken the agreement.

  • here are some more pictures and context from In These Times -- nothing conclusive but good to see nonetheless


  • What is the purpose of the "sit in" if there was an agreement to not tear down the the Casita and there will not be any construction of the library for the kids in the school? The sad thing is that this will be yesterday's news and forgotten. You can only cry wolf so many times until folks start asking probing questions about the handlers of the Whittier Parent's Group. We know CPS is dishonest and has sold out to the corporate interests. We know that organizations like CPS will "learn" from each action taken against them. The institutions always learn and respond harder each time. Seems that those handlers of the Parent's group did not think through their present action thoroughly. hmmmmm.

  • This community had a chance to remove Ald. Solis from office in the last election. Was Rahm's support of him just too powerful?

  • Dear Anonymous, if you go to the City of Chicago website and search building permits and then building permit status and put in D10270-01, address-1900 W. 23rd Street you will see the building permit to demolish the field house and install a turf field is STILL VALID! The Board of Education HAS NOT APPROVED a lease with the Whittier Parent Committee, as an Illinois not for profit entity, for WPC to occupy the Field House for an annual payment of $1.00. What does this mean? CPS still controls the property and can tear down the field house anytime that CPS wants to!

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