Don’t Close Public High School in Underprivileged Chicago Neighborhood

Target: United States Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Goal: Keep Walter H. Dyett High School open

Recently, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close Walter H. Dyett High School in Chicago, Illinois. This public high school has received little money from the school district, and many students are unable to pass state exams. However, Dyett is the only school many of the students in the area can afford to attend. Closing this school will disappoint its students and may result in a tougher future for them, as they may have to drop out of high school altogether.

Dyett supporters have been working for years to improve the school. They have already brought a refurbished athletic center and library to the school, as well as encouraging the students to participate in community service. Community organizers have had plans in place to improve the school, which the Board of Education did not take into consideration in their decision to close the high school. Many of the students are loyal to Dyett and are upset by the news of the school closing despite their efforts and the community’s efforts to improve the school.

If Dyett closes, many students will need to attend charter schools in the area. These schools are privately run, and may have harsh rules for attendance or a uniform that current Dyett students may not be able to afford. The other option will be Phillips Academy, a school with even worse test scores than Dyett and less of a community presence. The students are upset about the change in schooling, and feel it is because of their race and family’s income that they are being forced to leave their school. In a letter to the U.S. Education Secretary, the students said, “The only possible reason for this repeated forced removal into new and strange schools is that, being poor and African American, we are viewed as expendable.”

Sign the petition below to keep Dyett High School open for the students who need it most.


Dear Secretary Duncan,

Recently, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close Walter H. Dyett High School. Although the school has low test scores, it is valuable to the community of primarily poor and African American students. There is a fear that many students will not be able to afford a different school, or will be sent to a school with an even lower academic performance. Closing Dyett will be devastating to these students.

I ask you to keep Dyett High School open. The school is important to its students and the community. There has already been a tremendous effort to improve the school, including refurbishing the athletic center and library. The students participate in community service in the area as well. Keep the school open and allow the students to continue to attend the school that is important to them.


[Your Name Here]

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41 Signatures

  • Darlene Roepke
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  • Ann Blank
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