CPS School Closing Protest Song: 'It's Time to Fight Back'

By Lizzie Schiffman on April 3, 2013 6:11am | Updated on April 3, 2013 8:44am

CHICAGO — An education activist has recorded a protest song about the impending closure of 54 Chicago Public Schools, telling people "It's time to fight back, Rahm has gone too far."

"Rippin' out community anchors/ Push out the poor kids/ Bring on the bankers," parent Matt Farmer's new song "It's Time to Stand Up" thumps.

"Where was Rahm when the deal got done? / Out skiing in the Utah sun. / These are your schools, Chicago, and it's time to stand up."

Farmer has been an outspoken opponent of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's CPS closure and consolidation plan, which will shutter 54 schools and programs and leave 61 vacant buildings around Chicago.

After shouting his message at protests and blogging on the subject, Farmer, an attorney by profession and a musician, produced a song and accompanying video he hopes will rally teachers, parents and other opponents of the closure plan.

"The lawyer part of me thinks in sentences and paragraphs. The music-making part of me thinks in lyrics, meter and rhyme," Farmer said. "I'm trying to use both sides of my brain to combat this mayor's unprecedented school closings fiasco."

In the accompanying video, photos by Sarah-Ji of recent closure protests show teachers, parents and students campaigning for their neighborhood schools to be spared.

Farmer said he came up with the idea to write a battle hymn of sorts Sunday morning, nailed down the lyrics that night and recorded "It's Time To Stand Up" on Monday.

"Now it's Tuesday, and the song's out there," Farmer said.

Farmer, too, is out there, making his way to Washington, D.C., this week to attend a four-day education rally called "Occupy the Department of Education," where he's scheduled to speak on Saturday.

The D.C. event is being heralded as a "battle for public schools" and includes a scheduled march on the White House on Saturday.

The mayor's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 Musician and activist Matt Farmer
Musician and activist Matt Farmer
View Full Caption
Matt Farmer

Lyrics:

"It's Time To Fight Back!" (words and music by Matt Farmer)

Nine times six
Fifty-four
Schools gettin' closed
Like never before

It's the most school closings
In history
But it ain't no
Scooby-Doo mystery

Gonna clear out
The neighborhood
Keep people movin' out
To Harvey and Maywood

Rippin' out
Community anchors
Push out the poor kids
Bring on the bankers

Where was Rahm
When the deal got done?
Out skiing
In the Utah sun

These are your schools, Chicago
And it's time to stand up

CHORUS
You've got to stand up
And show him who you are
It's time to fight back
Rahm has gone too far

Progressive poseur
Walkin' bulldozer
Union bustin'
Grade school closer

9.5
Landed a quick jab
South Side, West Side
It's a land grab

Lookin' for a tax base
Maybe a white face
All-out crisis
That he won't let go to waste

Runnin' schools
With the help of the fat cats
Treatin' poor kids
Like they were lab rats

These are your schools, Chicago
Tell 'em what to do, G

CHORUS
You've got to stand up
And show him who you are
It's time to fight back
Rahm has gone too far

Mad about the strike
So now he's strikin' back
Bully with a big stick
Hittin' the brown and black

Movin' kids
Like Monopoly pieces
Same old games
Class size increases

When you fight back
Rahm's like a rich dad
Tryin' to buy you off
With a brand new iPad

Air conditioning
For when you get hot
Got his fingers crossed
That you don't get shot

These are your schools, Chicago
Tell 'em what to do, G

CHORUS
You've got to stand up
And show him who you are
It's time to fight back
Rahm has gone too far

REPEAT CHORUS 3x

 

 

 

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