The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.
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School closing, turnaround lawsuit dismissed
In a victory for CPS, a judge has dismissed for the second time a lawsuit filed by parents who sought to stop school closings and turnarounds.
The suit claimed that CPS did not provide adequate support to schools slated for closure and turnaround while they were on probation, resulting in a disproportionate impact on African-American students.
“This ruling is a win for students and families across the district. For too long, CPS has accepted a status quo that has failed its students year after year,” the district said in a statement. “With almost one out of two students not graduating high school, and only 7.9 percent of our 11th-graders testing college ready, it would be an injustice to wait another day to give our students access to the quality education they deserve.”
Michael Persoon, an attorney who represented parents in the case, said it’s too soon to say whether the case might be re-filed or the ruling appealed.
Judge Michael Hyman wrote in an opinion issued this afternoon that “this court understands the frustration of the students, their parents, the Local School Councils, the neighborhoods, and the teachers at the manifest failure of the 10 public schools in this lawsuit.”
But, he wrote, “this court has neither the discretion to second-guess nor the authority to prevent the Board of Education from moving ahead with its previously approved plans for the 10 schools … The power to make decisions on dysfunctional schools is placed squarely on the Board, with minimum interference permitted after these immensely consequential decisions are made.”