Education group to call 50,000 Chicagoans tonight

Stand for Children hopes new technology gives Chicagoans a voice in debate over fixing schools.

January 18, 2012

If you live on Chicago’s South or West Sides, you could be getting a phone call tonight from an education activist group.

The Illinois chapter of the national organization Stand for Children is calling 50,000 phone numbers tonight--20,000 on Chicago’s West Side and 30,000 on the South Side. Those who stay on the line will be part of a giant conference call--a telephonic town hall. They’ll be able to join in on a discussion with other parents and schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard about how to create quality schools in every Chicago neighborhood.  Those on the line will also be able to ask questions. 

Stand for Children plans to call phone numbers in areas where the school district wants to close or completely re-staff schools for poor performance; Stand for Children supports the controversial "turnaround" strategy.

Illinois Stand for Children director Mary Anderson says many people are turned off by "white noise" around controversial school closings and turnarounds. Anderson says she wants parents' voices to be heard in the debate over how to fix schools.

"We want to get to that silent majority of parents who may not be engaged in this talk at all right now and get them the information so they can start deciding for themselves whether they think this is good for their neighborhood or not."

Stand for Children last year pushed for a new state law that allows Chicago to lengthen the school day, makes it harder for teachers to strike, and makes it easier to get rid of poorly performing teachers.