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Getting up to Speed on the Online Campaign to "Save OPRF"

Student-led activist website finds an audience.

You might've heard about the ongoing campaign to "Save OPRF."

What's it all about?

In a few words, it's about saving the jobs on non-tenured and part-time teachers, who, like many similar educators around the state, routinely receive Redution In Force (RIF) notices this time of year. Wednesday Journal editor Dan Haley has a plain-language explanation of the process in an April 3 column. It's worth a read.

Anyway, a handful of teachers, 21 in total, were dismissed on March 22, prompting some outrage and online activism from students and parents alike. It's worth noting that some of those teachers may get hired back.

"This is the routine thing that occurs at almost every district known to humankind at this time of year," OPRF spokeswoman Kay Foran told the Chicago Tribune. "There should be concern and some pain when students learn perhaps a favorite teacher may not return to a specific position or be recalled for the following school year."

But in the age of instant connectivity, the students are taking their protests online. They've created a website called "Save OPRF," which has a running list of the teachers who've been fired, as well as a growing list of comments from community members lauding the axed OPRF staffers. The site also has links to downloadable salary information and tongue-in-cheek .jpg posters asking if some of history's greatest thinkers ought to be "dismissed."

Another effort utilizes online petition site SignOn. That page was created by OPRF sophomore Jacob Meeks, and so far more than 1,300 people have "signed" the petition, which aims to block the firings. It reads:

According to the official budget of District 200, OPRF has a budget surplus, making these teacher firings uncalled for. We're calling on the School Board and the Administration of OPRF to repeal the dismissals they voted upon and to support the educational well being of students by reexamining the budget and, if necessary, cutting from elsewhere.

And the group's Facebook page, which had swelled to thousands of fans, has been peeled back in favor of a new page. The creators of the original "Save OPRF" Facebook group apparently broke some of Facebook's rules. Thus, the new page, which is encouraging residents and students to show up at the Oak Park-River Forest Community High School District 200 board meeting on April 12.

A public copy of the agenda for that meeting is not yet available.

just a guy speaking the truth April 09, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Oak Park school teachers are already overpaid. The high school is still riding the greatness of the 60's. All teachers should not be tenured for they now have guaranteed jobs through the unions of not performing and not getting FIRED !!!!!

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