The school closing debate led to dueling protests this morning outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters.
Students from various area high schools announced they planned to boycott the second day of standardized testing today to protest the role of testing as a factor in schools landing on the school closure list.
Holding signs like "Don't test me bro" and "Support our schools. Don't close them," students circled outside the district headquarters before today’s board meeting.
The student group called Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools plans to form a human chain outside a closing school later this afternoon.
"We're just trying to make a statement that tests should not determine our future or the future of our schools," said student organizer Alexssa Moore, a senior at Lindblom High School.
The students were later pushed out of the district lobby by security personnel since they had failed to register online to speak at the board meeting.
Charter advocates, who are upset they've been dragged into the debate over closings, staged their own protest and press conference before the board meeting, at one point trying to drown out the voices of the students.
Charter parents have organized a group called Charter Parents United. Chanting, "Our child, our choice, hear our voice," parents said they wanted equal funding for charter schools and for the district to hear their voices too. Advocates of the privately run schools feel they have been unfairly blamed for school closings by the Chicago Teachers Union and other closing opponents.
Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, reacted to the test boycott with a statement: “The only place that students should be during the school day is in the classroom with their teachers getting the education they need to be successful in life. Today's PSAE is one of the most critical exams our students will take. Every adult should support and encourage our students to make sure they are in school.”Copyright © 2015, CT Now