Ames School Referendum - Labor Beat Video

A non-binding referendum is on the March 18, 2014 ballot for Chicago residents in 8 precincts near Ames Middle School. This video shows the referendum campaign in progress, and the impact on the Ames students of the threatened Marine Academy takeover. Ames Middle School is a receiver school for grade school feeder schools--who will also be adversely affected. 

An after-school pitch by Marine Math and Science Academy at Ames School on January 22, 2014 was met with widespread organized resistance by the Ames students. They chanted and lobbed some hard questions at a Chicago Public Schools operative sent there to convince everybody to lay down and allow the military and the un-elected Board of Education to roll over them. 

Ames 8th grade student Jasmine Marchan stood before the CPS representative and asked him "Why fix something that's not broken?" The point being that Ames Middle School is a good community school, yet it's been targeted for the military conversion.  "He had no answer," Jasmine continued, "because he was not a CPS board member."

Jasime Marchan's interview also shows how these un-democratic school board actions have inspired middle school students to become organizers and activists, speaking to Alderman Maldonado (who's pushing the military school), and going to a CPS Board of Education meeting.

Also interviewed is Cara Sawyer (People's Music School) who explains how the Marine school is shoving out the Elev8 program, including her orchestra students.

We follow into the neighborhood a group of community activists talking to residents about the upcoming non-binding referendum on whether Ames should remain a neighborhood school. Although CPS voted at its last Board meeting to change Ames into a military school, the referendum initiative seeks to demonstrate community opposition to this, and to convince the un-elected Board to halt its plans.

Additional interviews: Alondra Moreno (Ames Middle School 7th grade student); Leticia Barrera (Education Organizer, Logan Square Neighborhood Association); Libby Frank, Amien Essif, Arturo Hernandez (all referendum activists). Length - 16:20