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Noble Charter School Community Demands Respect for Students and Teachers

9/12/2017

CHICAGO – Monday, teachers, social workers, and parents gave their demands to improve teaching and learning in the Noble Charter Schools to the Noble Board at its quarterly meeting, which was held Mansueto High School (2911 W. 47th St, Chicago). The Noble community voiced its opposition to the climate of fear and intimidation that Noble management forces upon students and teachers. Students have to learn under a discipline system that stifles creativity and has disparate negative impacts upon African American Students.  Students are dealt large fees for discipline infractions that parents often cannot afford to pay. Teachers and staff have been under fire since announcing their campaign to organize a union in March.

The union is a means to improve teaching and learning across all 17 Noble schools, but management has used intimidation to prevent the free flow of information between staff members about unionization. This led the teachers to file charges that the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board found had merit and will proceed with a hearing in December to determine management’s role.

Luz Solarte, a parent at Noble Golder College Prep, stood in solidarity with the educators fighting for a union and asked the Board what could be done about the exorbitant fees at the public charter school.

It’s difficult to even think my child may not graduate if I cannot afford the fees,” Solarte said, “Noble does not give us any options for paying. If we can’t pay, our students do not graduate. My daughters don’t get in trouble, I’m referring to the fees all students have to pay.

Alisa de los Reyes, a social worker at Golder echoed Solarte’s concerns about student fees.

We must invest time in finding funding for our students and families that cannot afford to come to Noble,” de los Reyes told the Board, “Every day I hear families request financial support and they are told there is none. I see staff paying what students owe. We need fee waivers.

Claire Schuette, a social worker at Hansberry College Prep discussed the Noble Student Code of Conduct (SCC), which has disparate negative impacts on African American students.

I want a union because it is crucial we re-center students, parents, and staff at the core of decisions concerning the SCC,” said Schuette. “I have noticed a troubling phenomenon during my three years at Hansberry – students internalizing the discipline policy that amounts to policing them at school. How does a young, black male student – who regularly experiences the policing of his body in his neighborhood – feel when he received a loitering demerit for talking to friends after school?

The Noble Network of Charter Schools expels and suspends students at a higher rate than the Chicago Public Schools. In 2016-2017, African American students made 48% of Noble’s population, but received 72% of detentions. In total, students lost 3,700 days instruction due to Noble’s SCC.

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