A group of 12 community members started a hunger strike this week to demand that the decision to close the neighbourhood high school be reversed. The Dyett High School, which serves a low income district of Chicago is one of many schools which the administration of Rahm Emmanuel has closed, as it cuts budgets and increasingly turns schools over to semi-privatised charter operators. 

According to a blog by city teacher and education activist, Michelle Gunderson: 'The demand is simple – the hunger strikers want a public high school designed by the community to re-open at Dyett, not a contract school from a failed supplier or a charter operation. The proposal for the Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology School comes from extensive outreach in focus groups and town hall meetings with the community. Over a four year period a coalition of community members and education experts built the plan.1 It is a vision for a high school that would build a center of learning and justice for our city’s children.' Gunderson points out that there is little media coverage of the strike, making it doubly important that the news is shared as widely as possible.

The closure of community schools, either as a result of cuts or privatisation or both, is a global problem. In the rural part of the UK where I live, schools which bind sparse populations together are being closed in favour of distant 'hubs'. Parents here are mounting determined campaigns too, using every means at their disposal. The corporate reformers understand the global character of what they are doing - how much stronger we would be if we had the same understanding.