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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Losing track

After last year’s shut-down of four small elementary schools, most children didn’t land in better schools and the fate of 51 children is still unclear. With the district ready to close dozens more schools, anxiety is high that more children will fall through the cracks.
From the Spring 2013 issue of Catalyst-Chicago School closings

Why It Matters

No other school district has attempted to do what Chicago Public Schools is planning to this fall: close more than one in 10 school buildings, the vast majority of them in African-American communities.

  • CPS insists that closures will pave the way for displaced students to attend better schools. But the evidence points in the opposite direction. A University of Chicago Consortium on School Research study found that most displaced children ended up in schools that were not much better. CPS also cannot account for 11 percent of the students from the four small elementary schools it shut down last year.

  • CPS cites population loss as the driving force behind underutilization of schools. But children in predominantly black neighborhoods with large numbers of underutilized schools are more likely to be “siphoned away” to schools outside their community, compared to children from more diverse and middle-class neighborhoods.

  • The schools set to close this year face a host of social ills in the surrounding community, from homelessness to unemployment. More public money was spent over the past decade to incarcerate residents from those areas than on the schools slated for closure.

Where are all the children who should be crossing 71st Street?

The bell has just rung at Bond Elementary School in Englewood, and students are coming out of the front door. Some older children linger, talking and chasing each other on the sidewalk in front of the school.  But it is a blustery winter day and most of the children rush home.

Bond was the designated welcoming school for about 200 students from Guggenheim, which was shut down last year. Guggenheim’s attendance area was to the south of 71st Street, while Bond’s boundary was to the north. So in theory, several hundred children should be headed south at 71st and May, where Bond is located.

Anticipating the new students, CPS hired a crossing guard to help them get across 71st Street, a major artery that is typically quite busy. The district also brought in community people to watch over the students as they made their way home in the rough South Side neighborhood, with its mix of vacant lots, boarded-up bungalows and some nicely kept homes.

One young woman, a former Guggenheim student now in high school, walks with her younger sister across the street, heading south. Rose Traylor grabs her granddaughter’s hand and heads that way too. Only a few others follow.

The answer to the question of why so few students trek south across 71st is simple: Not many of the former Guggenheim students ended up at Bond.

“We all scattered,” says Traylor, whose husband and children attended Guggenheim.

For more than a decade, the mayor and school district officials have shuttered schools under the basic premise that, in their place, new schools will flourish in impoverished communities like Englewood and give children a better chance at a good education.

But some activists and parents found fault with that premise from the beginning. Critics said they saw scant evidence that most students would be better off, right away or in the future, if a school closed.

A comprehensive study on the impact of closings found that most students displaced by shut-downs between 2001 and 2006 landed in new schools that were not strong enough to help them raise their academic achievement. The study was done by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research.

The critics also feared that children would fall through the cracks and get “lost in the system” during the upheaval. That fear has particular importance this year as CPS prepares to close 54 schools—the most ever closed in a single year by a major urban school district.

The latest announcement of closings has thrust Chicago into the bright glare of the national spotlight. Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York City have closed dozens of schools in recent years and plan to close more this year, but not as many, at one time, as Chicago.

As Philadelphia’s school officials were considering more closings this winter, a local organization, Research for Action, issued a paper that analyzed the impact of closings. All but one study found negative or insignificant academic impact, according to the brief. The review also underscored that not much is known about what happens to students who are displaced, says Kate Shaw, Research for Action’s executive director.

“There is not enough comprehensive information about how this affects a city, a neighborhood, a student,” Shaw says.

Answering these questions is important, she says, because so many closings take place in districts grappling with other problems. Therefore, there’s little guarantee that a closing will mean a student will end up in a better school and community. 

Nationally as well as in Chicago, most school closings are slated to take place in African-American communities that are already struggling with poverty, crime, the aftermath of the housing crisis and long-term racial segregation.
Since the Consortium study was released, CPS officials have provided minimal specific information about the displaced students.

But this year, under some duress, they presented data about students displaced by closings and other actions in 2012. Activists and lawmakers on the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force, a committee created by legislators, repeatedly asked for the information over several months before getting it.

Once the task force members saw the data, they said the plight of displaced students confirms fears about the negative potential impact of closings. They found the information particularly distressing given what, at the time, was expected to be a record number of closings.

In 2012, CPS closed only four small elementary schools that altogether enrolled about 500 students. In June, 467 kindergarten through 7th-grade students were at the closed schools. Of those, it’s unclear what happened with 51 children.

CPS officials acknowledge that they don’t know where 23 of those students ended up and did not provide definitive information for another 28; 23 of those 28 were from Guggenheim.

Catalyst Chicago requested details about the 28 children for three weeks. Spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler finally said they were “Grade 20,” a limited-use code that denotes “profoundly disabled” students for whom a grade-level assignment is inappropriate.

“Grade 20 students would not necessarily be projected to a particular welcoming school if the services they required were not available at said school,” Ziegler wrote in an e-mail.

But special education experts and former teachers say this explanation does not sound plausible and would mean that virtually all of the special education students at Guggenheim were profoundly disabled. Citywide, only 1 percent of students are designated in that category.

Former Guggenheim staff say they did not have any students who were profoundly disabled. “It is a lie,” says Kimberly Walls, who now teaches at Fulton Elementary. “They don’t care like they say they do. If they did, they would track these students the correct way.”

Walls says that students should have had a transfer school on their records at the end of last year, and that transfer school should have been held responsible for finding the student in September.

“They should have been knocking on the child’s door trying to find out where they went because [CPS] caused the instability in this child’s life,” she says.

Counting the students whose whereabouts CPS does not know, and the “Grade 20” students, some 11 percent of students displaced by closings in 2012—children who are still in elementary school—are not accounted for.

Patricia Rivera, who previously ran the department in CPS that serves homeless students, acknowledges that the number of missing students isn’t large given the size of the district as a whole. But she worries about a possible multiplier effect: large numbers of missing children when dozens of schools close.

“Projecting into the future, this could result in a huge number of children lost to the system,” Rivera said at a meeting of the facilities task force, where the results of this analysis were first announced. “Instead of closing schools, we need to look for students.”

Among students whom CPS successfully tracked from 2012, fewer than 45 percent enrolled in their designated welcoming school.

Todd Babbitz, chief transformation officer for CPS, pointed out that parents can basically take their children where they want. 

“Families do exercise choice,” he told the facilities task force.

But though the district’s mantra is one giving parents the chance to choose a better school, few students landed at one. Nearly 56 percent of displaced students wound up at low-achieving, racially isolated, underutilized schools. Fewer than 10 percent went to high-performing schools; just 15 enrolled in a magnet school and only one got a spot at a selective enrollment school.

Consortium researcher Marisa de la Torre says the ground-breaking 2009 study showed that significant academic improvement only occurred when displaced students transferred to the best schools—those in either the top or next-to-the-top quartile on state standardized tests. “That is when you see big things,” she says.

To get to these schools, students mostly had to travel outside their neighborhood, de la Torre adds.

The timing of the closings announcement hampers the ability of parents to get their children into significantly better schools, says Cecile Carroll, an organizer for Blocks Together and a member of the facilities task force. Last year, the announcement came in December, just weeks before the deadline to apply for magnet and selective enrollment schools.

This year the announcement was made on March 21, well after applications were due and acceptances sent out.

“They don’t have this timing right,” Carroll says.

At Guggenheim, Walls says many parents simply enrolled their children at the school nearest to them or the one most convenient for them. Some principals, worried about low enrollment, recruited students.

“A lot of our parents were uninformed and just went with the flow,” she says.

A major problem is that schools most likely to be closed because they are underutilized and low-performing are most likely to be in neighborhoods that don’t have better choices for families and children.

A case in point: The closure of Price Elementary in Bronzeville, a neighborhood that has been hard hit in various rounds of school actions. CPS made the National Teachers Academy, a Level 2 school that is run by the Academy for Urban School Leadership, the designated welcoming school. (AUSL is a non-profit teacher training organization that operates turnaround schools.)

At 10 years old, the Academy is in a newer building by district standards. But it is 22 blocks away from Price, in a different neighborhood—far enough away that CPS took the unusual step of providing buses for students. This year, Byrd-Bennett says she will provide transportation for displaced students when the designated receiving school is more than 0.8 miles away.

Activists with the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization say busing has been problematic. At first, the students were waiting outside Price. When winter set in, activists convinced the district to allow students to wait inside Robinson Elementary. Then, after some conflicts with the Robinson children, CPS moved the former Price students to King College Prep nearby, where they now wait for the bus in a classroom.

Jitu Brown, KOCO’s education organizer, says he and other activists also had to push CPS to provide supervision on the bus.

“We have had to pressure them every step of the way,” Brown says.

Some parents or guardians might see the shut-down of a neighborhood school as an opportunity to get their children to a better school. But even with these intentions, the task is not always easy.

Tonya Beckman was determined she would find a better choice for her grandchildren.

They had attended Guggenheim, which is around the corner from her house. She liked the school because it was small and teachers reached out to the family when they had concerns about the children. Beckman volunteered at Guggenheim and served on the local school council.

But once the decision to close Guggenheim was made, Beckman set out to find a markedly better school. “I wanted schools that were scoring above 70 percent [meets or exceeds] on the ISAT,” says Beckman, a retired teacher.

She found two schools nearby that met that requirement: Mays, a neighborhood school with nearly 79 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards in 2011; and Kershaw, a magnet school. Beckman won the lottery and got a seat at Kershaw for her granddaughter Katrina, who was heading into 4th grade.

Beckman then went to Mays and tried to get them to take her grandson. As is the case with all neighborhood schools, if there is space, principals can decide to take children in. Mays is considered underutilized under CPS standards.

But Beckman’s grandson is in special education and she suspects Mays’ school staff looked at his education plan and avoided registering him. “I had a meeting set up with the principal and they called and cancelled the meeting and never rescheduled,” she says.

Beckman did not know where her grandson was going to attend school until August, when the Kershaw principal offered him a seat there.

Beckman likes Kershaw because her grandchildren have been able to go to tutoring and the teachers and staff are “professional.” The children have struggled a bit, but generally they are doing okay academically. 

However, Beckman is concerned about Katrina’s social development. Back at Guggenheim, she was outgoing and had a lot of friends. “The teachers would tell me that she’s bright and articulate,” Beckman says.

But at Kershaw, Katrina is quiet and reserved.

“She feels like the students don’t like her,” Beckman says. “The teachers say she sits off to the side and doesn’t say much. I keep telling her to give it a chance.”

This speaks to one of the significant problems with closing schools, Beckman says. “It is just very disruptive to kids’ lives.”

Another issue with closings and choice is school dynamics. Just because a school is doing well one year doesn’t mean those dynamics won’t change. That’s what happened with Guggenheim and Bond.

In a letter to parents, CPS officials wrote: “By transitioning the students currently enrolled at Guggenheim to Bond, CPS believes that these students will be given access to an improved educational environment.”

At the time, CPS touted the fact that Bond was a Level 2 school—the mid-level rating given by CPS based on a number of measures, including test scores and teacher and student attendance. But this year (based on its performance last year) Bond fell to a Level 3, the lowest rating CPS gives.

Perhaps sensing that Bond was not all that much better than other choices, parents didn’t flock there. But the fact that so few Guggenheim students went to Bond had consequences. Last spring, anticipating an influx of newcomers, CPS gave Bond 14 additional teachers and money for six parent workers—workers the school didn’t have before, according to the school’s budget.

But when only 94 students showed up, Bond ended up with 162 fewer children overall than expected. The school had to eliminate 8.5 teacher positions and two of the parent workers. Bond got so few students that it is still considered underutilized, and the one factor that saved it from landing on this year’s potential school closing list is the fact that it was a receiving school last year.

Current Bond Principal Valesta Cobbs declined to comment for this article.

Traylor is not convinced that Bond is better than Guggenheim. Her granddaughter says she likes her teacher, and the little girl has received awards for being a good citizen and wearing her uniform every day. But the classes seem large to Traylor, and the school seems more hectic.

“It is over-packed,” says Traylor. 

Traylor and her husband, Derrick, didn’t want to see Guggenheim closed. “Everyone knew everyone,” he says. His brothers created a petition and collected signatures to try to keep it open.

Though Derrick Traylor says the neighborhood has gotten worse, he notes that there was a closeness among the staff and families at Guggenheim that doesn’t exist at Bond. He is particularly unhappy that sometimes the school opens 45 minutes late, leaving children waiting in the cold.

“On those days, I just take my granddaughter back home,” he says.

He also doesn’t trust that his granddaughter will get all she needs academically at Bond. After school, he says he “home-schools” her, giving her extra work to make sure she is staying sharp.

Six months into the school year, Rose Traylor says she still hasn’t gotten used to Bond. On the playground that blustery afternoon, she pulls her granddaughter close to keep her out of the pushing and shoving, running and chasing that the older students are doing.

“It is rough here,” Traylor says, pulling the child, dressed in a purple winter coat, along with her. “It was nothing like this at Guggenheim. They had more control over the kids.”

Tell us what you think. Leave a comment below, or email


Rahm is a one-termer wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Where are they now?

Excellent journalism! This is HORRIFIC. The disheveled lives that [mayor] is causing for these children is an atrocity. What manner of human could be so cavalier as it relates to the lives of someone else's child, however, have your own children chauffeured to the University Lab School daily. He is a cold and heartless man.

Marc Sims wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Low income African Americans

Low income African Americans in Chicago have been abounded by the African American elite and the Black Bourgeoisie. Who is going to help low income African American parents raise well behaved children who read at grade level.

Rene Heybach wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Missing information

Excellent article. poor planning by CPS, poor projections about where the students would end up and how to best allocate resources. I point out that CPS has never given the CEFTF the additional basic information it sought about the students closed out last year: whether all such children were actually promoted to the next grade or not; whether there is significant absenteeism this year for those students; the academic performance of each displaced child; and whether promised case study evaluations were performed. In addition, I was involved with Guggenheim families after the announcement of possible closure. There was chaos in the school and an effort by the then-principal to immediately force students out prior to the end of the semester.

Rodestvan wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Outstanding and depressing article

Sarah Karp's article was a great piece of journalism and it sends chills down my spine at the same time.

Rod Estvan

Agree with Rod wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Where are the highly paid FACE employees from CPS to search

for these students. they should be out trying to find the lost children--maybe the mayor and BBB do NOT want them found. Get the FACE people out there. What is CPS waiting for? --its April already.

margaret wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Suggestions to displaced teachers

April 4, 2013
Hello teachers,
I know those of you who face displacement or unemployment from CPS probably feel frustrated, angry and uncertain about maintaining stable lives for yourselves and/or your families. I have empathy. I too was displaced in that I was forced out of a school by a principal who did not like me but deeply appreciated my teaching pedagogy. He did try to help me get a placement in a sister school, but I was fed up with CPS and wanted O-U-T. The journey towads financial solvency was not easy for me. I adjusted my lifestyle, encountered financial setbacks and discouragement but finally emerged a much more healthier person, happier person and more able to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus and other people:.

This is the 30 months trek I took which helped me to move on and rid myself of all anger towards CPS and Chicago and take charge of my life:

1. I homeschool my children Why? It is nonsense to keep my children enrolled in this school district which does not appreciate my value as an educator-parent. You are educators. You have the time and certainly the experience to solo or collaboratively homeschool your children. CPS looses revenue.
2. Used my unemployment to build a small business and get new training to work in a similar educational field. I scale back my lifestyle and move forward with anger and hurt dissapating.
3. Shop out of the city as much as possible so that my money no longer supports a city which does not value me as an educator nor my family as residents. Chicago looses revenue
4. I eventually moved out of Illinois. I pay much less rent, fees etc. than I did when I lived in the city and state. I work in this city 2-3 days per week. I try to spend very little money here. Illinois looses needed revenue and residents. Chicago continues loosing revenue and two wonderful highschoolers who like to shop, do volunteer work and are productive citizens.
5. I am in the process of transferring my credentials, business licenses, etc. to my new state so that I will not work in Illinois at all. Illinois looses totally.
6. I am much happier and at peace. I no longer feel hurt by how CPS treated my excellent work ethic and pedagogy or how the city undervalues our contributions as residents.

While you displaced teachers go through the re-building process the best immediate remedy is as much as possible to take your money out of the city and take your children out of the city schools and homeschool them.

Take care

Northside wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago



im looking overseas to teach or complete change!!! you are so right...this system will kill you

Anonymous wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Re:loss article

Bravo Margaret I understand! Katrina was my student at Guggenheim!!extremely bright and she was truly articulate in my class! This news breaks my heart because I always told her this, as I told many of my students , this on a daily basis!

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Re:loss article

I wanted to make sure my name was listed. So many of us go nameless and are pushed aside! I have a Masters in education from Columbia and am one of the best teachers Chicago has to offer! I received my undergraduate degree from University of Illinois, and Masters from Columbia college. I am highly qualified , received several fellowships, grants, and academic awards in my career and went to the University of Chicago to study mathematics. I ended up at Guggenheim , was lied to about the plan for next four years only to be given notice that school would be closing in 2012. However, my highest concern was for the children. I do not worry about myself. I am wondering what happened to them now I know!

John Hamilton wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Fake Solutions

This is a perfect test case for what ails our failing system. The myth of "failing schools" is used as an excuse for politicians to blame scapegoats for their own failures. The supposed failure of schools is really a failure of the city to generate employment in poorer neighborhoods, resulting in a spiral of deterioration, both physically and socially. School closings are pronounced as successful in advance, which makes it easy to ignore the actual problems they cause.

Rahm Emanuel is rooted in the Bill Clinton-Democratic Leadership Council approach to politics, which pretends to advocate "tough love" to social problems, when it is actually a cynical strategy to win elections by marginalizing the most vulnerable among us. It is consistent with the numbers approach to educational success, where test scores can be used as bludgeons to define schools as "failing," and either close them or fire principals and teachers.

In other words, we live in an era of the demagogue, the grandstander, the manipulator of emotion. Rather than actually solving problems, these lower-level politicians are all about themselves and their "power." This approach is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. It works for the demagogues, and that is all that matters.

There are encouraging signs, though. The Chicago teachers union stood up to Emanual last year, and won. They outsmarted him, which looks surprisingly easy in retrospect. Maybe the rest of the city will follow their example. It could spread to the entire country.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

A change is here

There are 2 aspects I think the people should focus on: #1. The schools have not been effectively teaching. And there is evidence of it. Why keep a building open that does not serve the children WELL?!

#2 This is for those who are anti Charter Schools---- many of the schools have low enrolment because parents LEFT THE FAILING school in hopes of something new and better for their children. I know that Charter schools aren't doing that much better but the Key is that parents were not satisfied and wanted something that the school was not providing.

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Why are Cps monies for Cps

Why are Cps monies for Cps schools going to charter schools. This is purely a fraudulent activity. it's called misappropriation of public school funding. It's not a question if anti -charter it's a question of Cps spending funds to support a program that will eventually lead to deterioration and dissolvement of public schools. It's like someone coming into your house, you starve your children , to feed them. Then you kick your own children out of the house and allow strangers to live there. Comprehend. Perhaps you don't mind your husband moving other women and children into your house and starve you and your children.Perhaps you are a misogynist and you enjoy abuse. To each is own.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Cps monies are not going to

Cps monies are not going to Charter schools. That money belongs to the PUPIL! It's a per pupil expenditure. That money is what our taxes pay to have their children educated. Many CPS schools are not educating the children. I know mine was not.

I wish CPS teachers would work on becoming better teachers and stop making excuses. Some people can get credentialed at the top universities and not be able to actually teach.

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

CPS teacher, no sweetheart,

CPS teacher, no sweetheart, world wide certified educator. CPS is not the only source to educate. Educators , majority, understand the real issue. All over the world and throughout the United States. We see what the real issue is. Read more, research more, read Johnathan Kozol first. Savage inequalities made me want to teach. Teaching is an art form that many have no comprehension. If children asked for their schools not to be closed, their home not to be taken, and it wasn't listened to. They are being is cruel!!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

The majority of your argument

The majority of your argument Ifeoma is not based in facts. My child needs to be educated. CPS schools wouldn't be failing if the teachers were teaching. I am a former teacher who- because of health issues no longer teaches. One of my children (son) is in a private school with less resources and 30 kids to a class and the teachers are doing more and being paid less.

In fact- I would like Illinois to go to a voucher system. Public education is not what it used to be and not what it could be.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

No need to be condescending

No need to be condescending Ifeoma. I am not your sweetheart. I have read Kozol and I am credentialed. I am acutely aware that people have varying opinions- some based in fact. It's funny how all these teachers "claim" to be skilled in the art form but I knew teachers (my colleagues) who thought they could teach but didn't even know how to use questioning to move their kids to a higher level of Bloom's taxonomy.

I've witnessed haughty teachers who couldn't teach their way out if a paper bag complaint about the parents and administration when their OWN students couldn't pass a unit test THAT THEY CLAIM TO HAVE TAUGHT.

I've grown to learn over the years, that some teachers who are degrees and certified are better students than they are educators. The real teaching shows results----and I'm not talking about just standardised test scores I'm talking about teacher made assessments.

Just running down a list of authors and case studies means nothing to me.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Please excuse my s's that

Please excuse my s's that were supposed to be d's. I'm texting this reply.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Please excuse my s's that

Please excuse my s's that were supposed to be d's and my i's that are supposed to be o's. I'm texting this reply.

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

You need to educate your

You need to educate your child as well. Your child's education is not at the sole discretion of teachers. Parental involvement is also a great indicator of success. My argument is factual, university of Chicagoan consortium on education and research asserts the same findings or perhaps I misunderstand the concept of fact. I dont throw other teachers under the bus.Everyone is always in need of coaching, mentoring, and encouragement to teach. Like most teachers, I know my own personal capabilities and do not need to be schooled. I don't suffer from insecurity about teaching and can not be talked down to. Sorry dont suffer from that affliction.

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Well, I ascertained in

Well, I ascertained in education that it is important to utilize citations in arguing a point, because , of course you must recognize that you are not the only person that has the idea. That's a key indicator if you have done your homework and research so to speak. Your experiences with your colleagues may be unique or perhaps you may be over judgmental. Perhaps you are the kind that goes around and tells other people how to parent, how to dress, how to breathe, and how to think. I have never been a fan of that approach because that speaks of a person who thinks they know it all. Just know I am not one of those people so I don't expect you to agree with me, because I already know you want to tell me and others what to do and how to do it.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

My allegiance is to my child

My allegiance is to my child and other children NOT to any teacher/administrator. The first job CPS needs to do is get rid of those teachers who are only (self-proclaimed) well learned who are unskilled at getting their knowledge from case studies and written theories to actually impact their instruction.

I'm used to pseudo intellectuals quoting other's writings to make them seem educated and spewing educational jargon all over the place. And some are really good at it. Most of those individuals need to be in a debate forum---certainly NOT in front of our children wasting their time.

Children need a qualified teacher in front of them at all times. They can be modelled and trained while they shadow an experienced teacher.

Quite frankly, you seem to have a lot of time on your hands. I hope there isn't a classroom full of children filling out a monotonous worksheet while you are on your CPS funded computer regurgitating something you read your first semester in graduate school. On second thought- a principal probably used the system to get rid of you.

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Lol :)

Lol :)

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

I own everything I use. You

I own everything I use. You know!!lol no I m not in front of children remember I am displaced due to school closing. Lol

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Thank goodness!

Thank goodness!

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

And thank goodness you are a

And thank goodness you are a former teacher I stiill educate but on a bigger scale!Thank you and have a nice day!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Really? What scale is that?

Really? What scale is that? Seems as though you'll be a 'former' teacher as well- -and it won't be because you were fighting MS- but because CPS will have successfully pruned away the ineffective teachers and made room for the ones who don't make excuses as to why their children aren't learning.

Yesterday was a great day indeed.- THANKS.

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Focusing on continual abusive

Focusing on continual abusive assumptions of someone's abilities is incomprehensible. Literacy is important. This just proves that people disagree so much so that they applaud the cruelty dealt to students and professionals. It is incomprehensible to me at this point the information is in the article, how the children feel is in the article, focusing on one individual and assaulting them is distracting to the point of the argument.There is a great deal of bitterness, hatred , and animosity in this world, when I am the type of individual that has given my all to the children I teach I.e the awards, fellowships, and grants. Went above and beyond to bring students understanding of different types of people and perspectives in the world. Provided students with arts integration experiences that they still talk about today. Heartlessness is not a teachable curriculum and we must all stay focused. If we do not remain focused and learn that people have different perspectives, are allowed to speak on it , stand up for it, and have a right to preserve black educators profession in this city. I am pleased that we have the support of millions of people.We as educators are bound together and will continue to advocate for our children. There will be no silence and submission to first grade anecdotals of "I am not going to be your friend anymore" or "you ugly" or "get out we don't like you" childish buffoonery. At this time, I am loving what the black Caucasus is doing, The alderman and community leadership that stand with us in this affront to our community and children.

Ifeoma Nkemdi wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

FYI I am not a pseudo

FYI I am not a pseudo intellectual I am an intellectual.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 33 weeks ago

Really? It's been my

Really? It's been my experience- that real intellectuals don't feel the need to slap people over the head with their credentials---a sure sign of insecurity. I wish the students of all these super teachers at these failing schools would be asked to write an essay on their behalf. If they have been teaching it will show in those essays.

Donna wrote 1 year 22 weeks ago

No one likes change

This article and almost article I read about the school closures misses the point. It simply does not make sense to keep schools open operating at 40% enrollment. If you look on-line, you can find the schools expenditures for the year and it is clear we can not afford to keep schools open to keep teachers employed.
If this is really about what is best for the children, we can do a better job teaching our children if we combine resources at one school. That is not rocket science. Contrary to public opinion, black people are not having large families. Those days are over. There simply are not enough students to fill the schools.
I attended Yale. My teachers made me believe I could fly. In my opinion, CPS provided me a better education than I would have received in a parochial school. Even 35 years ago, Englewood and Roseland were tough areas. I saw a lot of my classmates fail because of their home situation. It is not a credential problem. It is not a teacher problem. It is a financial problem. I don't like the Mayor but I think he made the best BUSINESS decision. Education is a business.
I empathize with everyone who will lose their job. The Salvation Army laid me off when the economy was absolutely dead and there were no prospects for me. I received no severance and no unemployment because they don't pay into the unemployment system. It took me 8 months to find a job and I nearly lost my home. I could not afford to whine. Someone moved the cheese and I had to find some new cheese. I can tell you that a lay off is not the end of the world. This is the best thing for the children.

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