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Will The Leadership Please Stand Up: Who will help keep Crane's doors open?

A member of the audience post a sign
A member of the audience post a sign
Photo by Tali Bakhit

"If You Can't Feed Us You Can't Lead Us! "These are the words that came so expressively from the mouth of Mark Carter board member of the Lawndale Greater Black Chamber of Commerce during the panel discussion at Malcolm X College on January 6th with his focus being on the proposed "Phase Out and Relocation" of Crane Technical Preparatory High School. A group of concerned youth, parents, and local leaders stood before the Chicago Public School Board to express their feelings about the proposed---in reference to the closing of Crane and turning it into a charter school. The proposed school---Chicago Talent Development according to Dr. Jordan prior principal of Collins high school has been a plan put in place a long time before the actual annoucement, "This has been happening for 20 years and nothing will stop the process unless we have the right leadership put in place," says Jordan.

Amongst the leaders who stood and spoke against the closing of Crane was Senator Annazette Collins, Ed Smith, Congressman Danny Davis, Alderman Walter Burnett, and Alderman Bob Fiorreti, "This plan has been in place for a long time" says Dr. Jordan. The plan is to shut down Crane and to re-open the school as a charter school where the neighborhood kids will be cherry picked to attend and the remaining children will be sent to Manly, Collins, Marshall, Farragut and other surrounding schools. Crane will be phased out over the next four years and Chicago Talent Development will transition it's way in. Based on the parents concern, kids will have no other choice but to cross gang lines which will cause a bloody resolution to what the officials of CPS believe is helping communities to grow. Parent, Sharia Washington says "The administrators of CPS are saying that our neighborhood children are not good enough-----what you are doing is wrong." During the chaotic fiasco, people in the crowd yelled out in distress due to the unwanted addition to the crowd----paid impostors from Englewood who were paid 25 dollars a head to disrupt the discussion, and if they stood up to speak they would be paid 50 dollars. One Englewood woman who claimed to be the parent of a child who attended a failing school walked up to the microphone literally with the crack of her behind showing and her pants nearly below the mid section of her anus and said "Crane needs to close their doors." In the background the crowd booed her and told her to sit down. But this didn't stop other Englewood paid impostors from coming up to the microphone and speaking out to get their extra pay. According to Mark Carter this type of situation in terms of paid impostors is nothing new in trying to disrupt the process of resolving issues in the black community, especially when it comes to closing a community school. West-siders were completely blown away by the disruption that the paid impostors caused and one parent said "It could have been a bloody mess at Malcolm X college that night and this type of thing never ever needs to occur again." Some one screamed in the background "Where is the Mayor?"

During the discussion Mark Carter also called out Reverend Roosevelt Watkins who he believes is working closely with CPS officials in order to make sure that there is disruption caused around keeping open certain Chicago Public Schools. Carter feels that Rev: Watkins and many other black leaders are behind the conspiracy in order to receive pay. Carter adds "There is a backdoor initiative put in place where local leaders throughout the city of Chicago are being paid to look the other way and not help resolve the problems within their own communities---the only way to resolve this problem is simply by going against them to allow them to see things our way and if they can't see things our way we must organize as a people and get rid of them---this type of leadership must be exposed."

Some of Crane's alumni stood up to speak. One young lady said that she graduated from Crane, attended DePaul University and she is currently in law school at DePaul in order to give a good example of a product of Crane, where another young lady who attended Crane said that she agrees with the close because the school has failed the community and the youth that attend the school. According to CPS officials the school has been on academic probation for 10 years. Parents and people from the community want to know how CPS officials could stand on the side lines and allow for a school to be on probation so long and not come in to assist with the proper resources. One parent said that the process of help and renovation did not come about until CPS officials announced the close of the school.