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School actions could top 100

Less than one in five schools that have replaced closed schools are high-achieving.


A decade ago this spring, then-CEO Arne Duncan introduced the first Renaissance schools and coined the phrase "turnarounds" to describe a process of firing a school's staff and hiring new people to, hopefully, improve the school.

Since then, the announcement of school actions—turnarounds, closings and reconfigurements—has become an annual occurrence.

Last week, CEO Jean-Claude Brizard continued the tradition, saying that he wants to turnaround 10 schools, close two, phase-out two and officially shutter a few other schools whose phase-outs started years ago.

But what has become of the schools that have already been closed? Which communities are veterans of the experience? And what types of schools have replaced those shuttered?

This chart and map reveal that only 18 percent of the replacement schools (schools located in buildings where either closure or turnaround has occurred) were rated at Performance Level 1 by CPS, the highest performance level. Of the high performers, more than half are magnet or selective enrollment schools run by CPS. 

And nearly 40 percent are Performance Level 3, the lowest rating CPS gives. Of the low-achieving schools, about a third are turnarounds and a third are charter schools.

Also, less than 10 of the schools subjected to actions were on the North Side. Humboldt Park and the Near West Side, followed by Grand Boulevard, have had the largest number of school actions.

Almost all of the schools that closed were neighborhood schools with attendance boundaries. But more than half of the replacement schools have no attendance boundaries--which means no guaranteed seats for neighborhood students--as they are magnet or charter schools.


KATHLEEN wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

It is amazing that the board

It is amazing that the board would approve these actions, knowing that so many kids would fall through the cracks. I think more emphasis on identifying the cause of underperformance, then tackling each appropriately. To close a school and and then reopen with the same kids, with the same problems is ludicrous. What makes the experts think that all of a sudden we would see better performance or instaneous parental invilvement?

Anonymous wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

It's never been about the kids...

Kathleen, I agree completely. It is ludicrous to think that school closures, turnarounds, or charterizations would make a difference. But it never has been about the kids.

I was shocked to learn from parents and teachers of schools closed or given to charter operators how the district often upgrades the buildings right before a closure is decided. Last Sautrday, at the CTU Teach-In about school closings we learned that some buildings just got new playgrounds, new air conditioners, or in the case of Casals, were already a relatively modern, well-kept building.

In true Shock Doctrine fashion, the district underfunds, understaffs, and leaves buildings in disrepair (until the last minute) in order to cry "Failing School" and use this as an excuse to use free market practices. AUSL is a private company which profits by having more schools in its network. Charter schools are often run by for-profit charter operating companies which again profit the more schools they (close &) create.

The Board and the mayor's rich buddies are profiting from these actions. They don't care about the kids, or the disruption and chaos that results from these methods. They don't care that turnarounds and charters have no research to say they do better. It's all about the money. Always.

Anonymous wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

Education in Chicago

Every since Mayor Daley took over CPS it became a business. It's all about money now, forget educating our kids!

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