DOWNTOWN — Anyone trying to leave the Loop Friday afternoon after work probably shouldn't expect a quick getaway for the weekend.
The Chicago Teachers Union has set a tentative schedule for Friday's "day of action" to protest state funding and local school management, culminating in a rush-hour march to "shut down" Downtown from 4:40-6:30 p.m.
The union is proclaiming a one-day strike that state and local officials have called illegal. Yet teachers are expected to be joined by college students and professors and other local unions in protests across the city that will converge at the Thompson Center at 4 p.m.
According to tentative plans released Monday by the union, the day will begin with teachers protesting at all Chicago Public Schools at 6:30 a.m.
The protests will focus on the lack of adequate funding for both CPS and state colleges, making some universities in the city protest sites as well. A teach-in on the issues at 10 a.m. at Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., will lead to a "funeral march illustrating the death of higher education in Illinois," according to a union statement.
At the other end of the city, Black Youth Project 100 activists will join Chicago State University educators in another teach-in at 10 a.m. That will lead to an all-campus rally in front of the Student Union Center, 9501 S. King Drive, at 11 a.m.
Chicago State has been threatened with closure by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a prime target of Friday's protests, with the shut-off of state funding to colleges stemming from the ongoing budget impasse with the General Assembly.
Another protest will take place at the Nabisco plant at 7300 S. Kedzie Ave., that has already drawn attention from presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump over jobs being lost to Mexico.
The teachers union is planning an unspecified set of actions at noon leading toward a City Hall protest at 2 p.m. At the same time, a protest march is set to step off at 136 N. Western Ave. to call for the closing of state youth prisons.
The University of Illinois at Chicago will hold a rally to support higher education on the quadrangle at 2:30 p.m., followed by a "party on the Blue Line to the Thompson Center."
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Human Services will stage a protest at 3 p.m. at the Illinois Department of Human Services, 401 S. Clinton Ave., also leading to a march to the Thompson Center with stops at banks on the way.
All protesters are expected to converge at the Thompson Center for a 4 p.m. rally to protest the governor's inaction, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration, including his appointed Board of Education, and to call for additional state revenue for education, the teachers union said.
The rally will lead to the "shut it down" march, which figures to snarl traffic around the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., and in whatever direction or directions protesters go, although the union wasn't releasing those plans just yet.
The teacher union's House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly to approve the one-day strike, and union bylaws call for teachers to observe it.
Emanuel has declared, "Our kids belong in school," but CPS has been making contingency plans to set up 250 sites citywide for parents to drop students if the strike goes off as planned.
CPS released a list of the 250 sites Tuesday, including 107 schools, 80 Park District locations, all 80 Public Library branches and some Safe Haven sites. Parents looking for a place to drop off their kids can also call the city's 311 line.
"Chicago’s students need to be in their classrooms with their teachers, and their leaders need to be at the bargaining table so that we can reach a final agreement and present a united front to end Springfield’s discriminatory education funding formula that shortchanges Chicago children," CPS Chief Executive Officer Forrest Claypool said.
“While it’s unfortunate that CTU leadership is pushing an illegal strike, CPS is committed to providing all of our students with safe environments that will keep them fed and engaged."
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