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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.

Caught in a web

From the Spring 2013 issue of Catalyst-Chicago School closings

When CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett narrowed down the initial list of schools targeted for possible closure, she put out this challenge to communities: Explain why your schools are underutilized and low-achieving. Byrd-Bennett said she wanted to hear about issues of school leadership, teacher turnover and professional development. “I want to know, how do they expect to address these issues?” she said in February. “I do not want to be interpreted as saying they are at fault. I just want them to explain their current situation.”

Catalyst Chicago and its sister publication, The Chicago Reporter, analyzed social and economic indicators in the areas within the attendance boundaries of the 54 schools recommended for closure. The analysis reveals that these schools faced far greater challenges than other district schools. In fact, much of the public money spent in these neighborhoods pays for services that are damaging, such as incarceration, rather than education.

Closing schools versus all other schools


Anonymous wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

School closing criteria

Just curious:
Could you add statistics comparing the schools marked for closing with all others
1) Student attendance
2) Teacher/instructional staff attendance
Have some school communities already voted with their feet ?

Denis Roarty wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Wrong narrative

Anonymous, I take the point of this article to be about the big picture not about a narrow minded focus on competition and blame. Sure you can ask if parents are voting with their feet and blame the teachers and principal for not getting their act together. Or, to the point of the article, you can look at the big picture and see that these neighborhoods are severely strained and under-resourced for the task they are charged with.

Through this lens it is clear that, if we are really interested in changing the trajectory for the kids in these neighborhoods, massive school closings and the illusion of choice are both an abdication of our responsibility to the kids and a healthier society.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

Institutional Racism

The stats listed in the article describe institutional racism. These schools scheduled for closing are another victim.

Denis Roarty wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

I agree

I agree that our neglect of these neighborhoods and these kids been institutionalized. But, if I read it right, your first comment about parents voting with their feet alludes to a support of choice and market strategies as a way to fix things. I see don't see choice as a response to institutionalized racism or classism, it only help a few kids with strong parent advocates. Market strategies will only lead to McSchool and Walmart Prep.

We need more comprehensive strategies that will help every kid, every family. And do it in their neighborhood.

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