Chicago Teachers Union Warns in Facebook Post: 'This is Not Detroit!'

By Adeshina Emmanuel on February 26, 2013 11:45am 

 This image accuses the CEO of Chicago Public Schools of leaving Detroit public schools in shambles.
This image accuses the CEO of Chicago Public Schools of leaving Detroit public schools in shambles.
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Facebook/ Chicago Teachers Union

CHICAGO — The Chicago Teachers Union is comparing Chicago to Detroit in an unflattering Facebook post that shows a photo of the inside of a dirty, deteriorating public school in the Motor City and warns "This cannot be our legacy!"

The caption next to the photo asked viewers to tell Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett: "THIS IS NOT DETROIT!"

"As the Chief Academic and Accountability Manager for Detroit Public Schools, Byrd-Bennett was instrumental in the dismantling of its public school system," the photo caption says.

More than 220 people had "liked" the image as of Tuesday morning and it was shared more than 300 times.

A Detroit photographer, Thomas Hawk, took the picture, and Kenzo Shibata, CTU's new media coordinator, added the text, the CTU said. The union wanted to tell Chicagoans about Byrd-Bennett's "tour of destruction" through Midwestern school districts,  Shibata told DNAinfo.com Tuesday.

Byrd-Bennett was tapped to help reform urban school districts in Cleveland (1998-2006) and Detroit (2009-2011). She oversaw school closings and turnarounds in those districts, a task she is undertaking now in Chicago.

Detroit has about 124 school district properties on the market at the end of 2012, according to a report from Pew Charitable Trust. Shibata said Byrd-Bennett "decimated the school system" there and "left Detroit in disarray."

"The idea behind the photo was that we will not accept this in Chicago," he said, adding that the photo was not meant to insult Detroit. "If we push back on this and we win on this — we're hoping to help Detroit in their fight as well."

The image also touted a March 27 CTU protest planned at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington.

"They want to shut down our schools," the image said. "We'll shut down the city."

A CPS spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

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