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Drugs in schools

Most drug violations in CPS involve an ounce or less of marijuana. Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.

71 school actions in massive district shakeup

In announcing the largest shakeup ever attempted in one year by a major urban school district, CPS officials laid out a complicated plan for a total of 71 actions--closings, co-locations and turnarounds--that will affect more than 30,000 students. (Full list below.)

CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett will recommend that 54 school programs be shut down. Nearly 90 percent of the students in the closing schools are black, though African Americans make up only about 40 percent of the district’s entire student population.

The impact of school actions on black communities has been a major factor driving opposition among activists as well as the Chicago Teachers Union, which held a press conference attacking the actions. 

Under this proposal, the communities that would have the most closings are: West Town, Auburn Gresham, Austin, West Englewood and West Pullman.

In addition to the 54 shut-downs, 11 schools will co-locate with another school, eight of them with charter schools. Two severely underutilized high schools—Bowen and Corliss—will share their buildings next year with new Noble Street charter high schools. CPS officials said this will give people in the area two “good, strong” options in one building, but some community members and others are likely to worry that the charters will drain away more students from the neighborhood schools. 

Finally, the non-profit Academy for Urban School Leadership will get six more schools to “turn around,” a process that entails replacing virtually an entire staff. AUSL is a politically-connected teacher training program that has won national recognition from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. One AUSL school, Bethune Elementary in East Garfield Park, will be closed. Also, Dodge and Morton, two AUSL school, will co-exist in the Morton building. 

The board is set to vote on this proposal at its May 22 meeting. Before then, CPS will hold three hearings on each recommendation, two in the affected communities and one with an independent hearing officer at its downtown headquarters.

Cost savings, teacher layoffs

Initially, these moves will cost CPS money but over 10 years, the district will save about  $1 billion, said Chief Transformation Officer Todd Babbitz. The savings are a combination of $560 million in capital costs and $430 million in operating costs.

Critics will likely argue that less than $1 billion in savings over 10 years is not a lot of money, considering CPS has a $5 billion yearly budget.

But Babbitz and other officials said the school district is not only closing schools to save money, but also to make the remaining schools better. 

At the welcoming schools, CPS plans to make $155 million in capital investments and spend $78 million in “up front” operating costs. 

The initial investment is high as CPS officials have spent the last week announcing the various things they plan to provide for welcoming schools. Each will get air conditioning,  a library, a science lab and computer lab, as well as a social worker and other social supports for students. In addition, safe passage workers will watch over students as they make their way to their new school. Students at a handful of schools will get bus transportation.

CPS leaders earlier today announced that 19 schools will get specialty programs, such as International Baccalaureate or fine arts programs. These will be magnet cluster programs, which maintain an attendance boundary, but can take students if they have space. Officials could not say on Thursday how many extra staff these schools will get for these programs.

Spokeswoman Becky Carroll argued that the district is prioritizing these welcoming schools, many of which will become the neighborhood schools. 

“These are communities that have been under-resourced and underserved for years,” she said. “We want to give them all the things that they need that they do not have now.”

At the Chicago Teachers Union press conference, President Karen Lewis lambasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who reportedly is on vacation with his family. “This is not going to save money, it is going to cost money and it is going to leave abandoned buildings,” she said.

CPS officials could not immediately say how many teachers will be laid off as part of the upheaval. As part of the new teacher’s contract, those teachers from closed schools get to follow their students to a new school, if they are tenured and highly-rated.

But at the press conference, little was said about the fate of teachers. Lewis, parents and teachers said they worried most about the students.

Kohn lunchroom attendant Takeeva Thompson said that at her school, a 7-year-old was killed and other students have been shot. She said the school is a haven for students. “We are either giving them a gun or a book,” she said.

Nina Gibbs, a parent of a student at Mahalia Jackson, said the plan calls for her daughter to go to Fort Dearborn Elementary. “That is on the other side of the tracks,” she said. “What kind of safety and security are they going to have? You have already got a lot of children here been shot, beat up, kidnapped. What about the parents who will no longer be [in] walking distance from the school?”

Safety a top concern for parents

Adam Anderson, the district's officer of portfolio, planning and strategy, said that officials took into account the concerns about safety that parents and residents expressed at the 28 community hearing held this winter. 

Among the things that CPS officials heard were that people want a school in their area and they don’t want children to have to cross barriers, such as railroad tracks, to get to school. Anderson said it also was important to him and other school leaders that children were sent to better facilities and better schools. 

But all these criteria created quite a puzzle for CPS leaders and this is evident by the plan they laid out. In several situations a school program closes, meaning the administration is displaced, but the children stay in the building. The principal and staff from a better-performing school take over that closed school program, leaving their building empty.

For the first time perhaps ever, CPS will try to combine three schools into one building and, in at least one case, the district will split children from one closed school up between two schools.

These unusual combinations left some people in the community with their head spinning. Dwayne Truss, an activist in Austin, said he was trying to get his head around all the proposals for his community. 

“Some of this is just crazy,” he said.

ACTION LIST

Closing School
Welcoming
Wentworth Wentworth @ Atgeld
Armstrong May into Leland
Attucks Beethoven
Banneker Mays @ Banneker
Bethune Gregory
Bontemps Nicholson
Calhoun Cather
Canter Harte, Ray
DePrey De Diego
Von Humboldt De Diego
Melody Melody @ Delano
Wadsworth Wadsworth @ Dumas
Emmett Ellington and DePriest
Ericson Sumner
Fermi South Shore Fine Arts
Garfield Park Faraday
Garvey Mount Vernon
Goldblatt Hefferan
Earle Goodlow
Henson C. Hughes
Herbert Dett @ Herbert
M. Jackson Fort Dearborn
Key Ellington 
King Jenen
Kohn Cullen, Lavizzo, L.Hughes
Lafayette Chopin
Lawrence Burnham @ Lawrence
Manierre Jenner
Marconi Tilton
Mayo Wells @ Mayo
Morgan Ryder
Overton Mollison
Owens Gompers
Paderewski Cardenas, Castellanos
Parkman Sherwood
Peabody Otis
Pershing West Pershing East @ Pershing West
Pope Johnson
Ross Dulles
Ryerson Ward @ Ryerson
Sexton Fiske @ Sexton
Songhai Curtis
Stewart Brennemann
Stockton Courtenay @ Stockton
Trumbull Chappell, McPherson and McCuteheon
West Pullman Haley
Williams Drake @ Williams; co-locate with Urban Prep
Woods Bass
Yale Harvard
Near North Montefiore
Buckingham Montefiore
Mason closes high school

 

Co-Locations
Crane with Chicago Talent Development H.S.
Noble-Comer with Revere
New Noble HS with Bowen
Montessori of Englewood with O'Toole
Kwama Nkrumah Charter Gresham
New KIPP with Hope HS
Disney II expanision with Marshall Middle
Belmont Cragin with Northwest Middle
Noble HS with Corliss
Dodge with Morton
Drake with Urban Prep for Young Men--Bronzeville
Turnarounds
Barton
Chalmers
Dewey
O'Keefe
Carter
Lewis

15 comments

Rodestvan wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

looking at only two of the schools

There are many complex aspects to this closing list and the receiving schools related to them. I am going to need some time to digest this. But I have been watching some particular schools, one is Ryder which has a current special education percentage of around 26%, up from last year when it had about 22% special education students. According to my data Ryder also has a special education cluster program. Ryder is not being closed but will be a receiving school for Morgan Elementary which currently has around 19% students with IEPs.

The proposed new school if its enrollments stays about the same as this year will have about 509 students of whom about 119 will have disabilities. This combined school will become a school with about 23.4% of its population being disabled. So the question I have to ask as an advocate for students with disabilities is will the Morgan students with IEPs receive the better education CPS promised would be provided to all students moved due to closings?

Last year of students with IEPs tested in reading at Ryder using the ISAT only 18% were meeting or exceeding standards overall. Ryder overall is considered by CPS to be a level 3 school just like Morgan.

What about the academic performance of students with IEPs at Morgan? Last year at Morgan 26% of the students with disabilities tested in reading were meeting or exceeding state standards on the ISAT. In math again 26% of Morgan students were testing at or above state standards, and Ryder also had 26% of its students with IEPs performing at state standards.

Let's get serious here. Both Ryder and Morgan are academically very weak schools for their students with disabilities who are given the ISAT, the differences in relation to those more disabled students with disabilities given the IAA can't simply be determined without observations. Which I suggest has not been done in any serious manner. If CPS really wanted to provide a better education to Morgan students with IEPs then these students would have to be massively bused to an elementary school like Lincoln on the north side where last year 59% of its students with IEPs given the ISAT were reading at or above standards and 80% were performing in math at or above standards. But to no one's surprise there is no room for the Morgan students at Lincoln on the north side.

Rod Estvan

kjerm2013 wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

If you look close at list

If you look close at list very few students with schools set to close...will be going to better schools. There are a few Stockton to Courtaney...Lafayette to Chopin. Instead of walking two blocks to a academically failing school...the walk is now 8 blocks (through rival gang areas) to arrive at a failing school. Notice no failing charter school on the list...or contrcat schools. This is not about improving eduaction...it is about saving money, and destroying public neighborhood schools to make way for more charters. Drive through theses blighted in a few months and these once vibrant but boarded up schools will look like tombs.

NORHSIDE wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

CATALYSt BLOGGERs where are you

of all days to be silent today? where is the words of disgust or glee if that is the case. rahm is in UTAH......where is the usual good posts??? we need some words for these poor kids and teacher and yes principals

Robert Monroe wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

school closings

Now the children will be in a better environment so that they will have resources that they need to aspire. This is a great rejoice. Once the new school year is up and running; parents will be in more of a happy mode. For those that stay at home; they just have to get up and have more input in getting their child to school. But they can do it. Libraries. That will be a plus. Because there are some schools who threw out nice Libraries in the schools; and children were not exposed to a Library. Now they will be. Too much waste has been going on in the Cps schools for too long. The change will give the students what they need. The road has been rugged; but now the correction has been served. It finally happened.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

YGBFKM. You have to be pretty

YGBFKM.

You have to be pretty terrible to try to bribe people with the human rights you've been denying them.

City leadership really hates kids, don't they?

Ed Dziedzic wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

You must be kidding

Robert Monroe, if you want to drink the kool-aid, please do, but don't expect the rest of us to believe the Board is going to do this smoothly. This is going to be one gigantic cluster----.

lforte wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Anonymous comments

A reminder: Per our updated policy, comments labeled "anonymous" are no longer allowed and will be deleted. We don't require that you use your full name, but we do ask that you identify yourself in some manner,  such as "Concerned teacher." We welcome your feedback, and thanks.

Rodestvan wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

A look at six additional schools being closed and special ed

I have now had a little more time to look at additional schools proposed to be closed and their receiving schools in terms of the performance of students with disabilities and approximate numbers of disabled children in a consolidated school. I looked at 6 additional sets of schools, picked randomly from the list. I reviewed the subgroup scores in math and science for students with IEPs who were administered the ISAT in 2012.

I did not review the Illinois Alternative Assessment scores for more significantly disabled students because they generally are not available on the school level and to be honest I have questions about their meaning.
The Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) is the test the state uses to measure the learning of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Students take the IAA if participation in the state's regular assessments — the ISAT or the PSAE— are not appropriate, even with accommodations. Just in relation to the meaning of IAA scores, for CPS as a whole on its 2012 report card 55% of the CPS students administered the IAA were found to be reading at a level called satisfactory or mastery. In fact many of these students may not be able to read at all because test administrators are allowed to read passages aloud to all students who are qualified to use read aloud as an accommodation within their IEP program. From my experience with more severely disabled students many if not most have this accommodation written into their IEPs.

In the 2012 testing cycle CPS administered the IAA reading component to 2,481 students with disabilities and the ISAT to 21,810 students with disabilities. Some of the schools that have been proposed to be closed may have more students than would be expected taking the IAA because a special education cluster site is located at that school.

Back to the 6 additional closing and receiving schools I looked at. Banneker is closing and its students are going to Mays. CPS currently states Banneker has a total of 350 students and 18% have disabilities (about 63 disabled students). Mays has a total enrollment of 309 students with 7.8% (about 24 disabled students). If things were to stay stable next year the combined school would have around 660 students and a disability percentage of about 13.2%. Mays effectively will experience a dramatic increase in its special education population and the one case manager at that school will experience a big work load increase.

In terms of special education ISAT performance of Banneker students with IEPs only 4% of these students were reading at or above state standards in 2012 and 17% were performing at standards in math. Mays' disabled students did dramatically better 48% were reading at or above standards and 62% were performing at standards in math. Are the teachers that much better at Mays or was it the lower numbers of students with IEPs that allowed for such a dramatic higher performance level?

Hopefully, CPS knows the answer because I don't have a clue. But at any rate CPS would be honest in saying that it was sending the students with disabilities from Banneker to a academically stronger school.

Bethune is closing and its students are going to Gregory. CPS currently states Bethune has a total of 392 students and 14.5% have IEPs (about 57 students). Gregory currently has 340 students and 10.9% IEPs (about 37 students). If things were to stay stable next year the combined school would have around 732 students with and a disability percentage of about 12.8%. Gregory will experience an moderate increase in its special education population and the one case manager at that school will experience a moderate work load increase.

In terms of special education ISAT performance of Bethune students with IEPs 22% of these students were reading at or above state standards in 2012 and 6% were performing at standards in math. Gregory 's disabled students did dramatically better 37% were reading at or above standards and 70% were performing at standards in math. Are the teachers that much better at Gregory or was it the lower numbers of students with IEPs that allowed for a higher performance level? Again I hope CPS knows the answer because I don't have a clue. Again I would say CPS would be honest in saying that it was sending the students with disabilities from Banneker to a academically stronger school.

Duprey is closing and its students are going to DeDiego. Duprey currently has according to CPS around 99 students, of whom 14.1% have IEPs (about 14 students). Because Duprey has so few students an ISBE data test score suppression rule applied to the 2012 test scores for students with disabilities. So I had to use 2011 scores for comparison purposes. DeDiego currently has according to CPS around 776 students of whom 13.4% have IEPs (about 104 students). If things were to stay stable next year the combined school would have around 875 students with and a disability percentage of about 12.8%.

In terms of special education performance Duprey simply blows DeDiego off the charts using data for both schools from 2011. In 2011 Duprey had 33% of its students with IEPs tested in reading at or above state standards and 50% of its students with IEPs performing at or above standards in math. DeDiego in 2011 only had 17% of its students reading at standards and 23% of it students with IEPs meeting or exceeding standards in math. Again it's the school with smaller numbers of students with IEPs that has higher testing scores for that subgroup and again it's not at all clear why. DeDiego by the way in 2012 had a very small decline in its reading scores for students with IEPs and in math. It's fair to say CPS would be less than honest claiming that it was sending the students with disabilities from Duprey to a academically stronger school.

Ericson is closing and its students are going to Sumner. This year Ericson had an enrollment of 488 students with a very small special education enrollment of 5.1% (about 25 students). Sumner had 359 students with a special education enrollment of 9.5% (about 34 students). The combined school if the enrollment stays the same would have about 847 students with disabilities would compose about 7% of the school.

The students with disabilities ISAT scores for these two schools are very similar, with a slight edge in reading going to Ericson. But both schools have pathetic performance results in reading for disabled students. Sending the Ericson's disabled students to Sumner in no way presents these children with a better option based on performance data.

Herbert is closing and its students are going to Dett. Herbert has a large percentage of students with IEPs, 29.5% of its approximate current enrollment of 356. Dett has a total enrollment of 204 with 16.2% having IEPs. A combined school would have around 560 students if nothing changes and have about 24.6% students with IEPs. This increase in students with IEPs could change the character of Dett.

Dett has much stronger performance in math for its students with disabilities compared to Herbert, but just about the same reading scores (15% at or above for Herbert and 14% for Dett). While CPS can reasonably claim its sending Herbert's students with disabilities to a stronger school, it's also clear Dett will face real challenges with a larger special education enrollment.

Lastly, I looked at Lafayette which is closing with its students going to Chopin. Lafayette has the largest percentage of disabled students of any of the closing schools we randomly picked. According to CPS its 30.8% with a total enrollment of 483 students, that's about 149 students with IEPs. Many school districts in Illinois have far fewer disabled students than just Lafayette has. Lafayette has a good number of self contained programs, including an autism program with about 12 dedicated staff.

Lafayette's ISAT test scores for those disabled students capable of taking the standard test are shockingly low compared to Chopin's. Chopin has 45% of its students with disabilities reading at or above standards whereas Lafayette only has 6% meeting or exceeding standards. But Chopin has really very few disabled students compared to Lafayette, about 40 out of an enrollment of 271. CPS is totally correct that its sending Lafayette students to the better school based on test data. But its seems clear that Chopin is in for a dramatic increase in its special education population if enrollments next year look like they do this year. Chopin would go from having 14.8% of its population composed by students with IEPs to having 25% of its population composed of disabled students and many of them would be significantly disabled students.

I have now looked at 7 closings and mergers, yesterday I looked at Morgan and Ryder, and I see trouble ahead at some of these schools. I saw three schools whose disabled students would be transferring to an academically weaker receiving school than was the closing school. I also saw several receiving schools which would experience a dramatic increase in their special education population. Once you begin to look closely the CPS closing process appears more and more difficult.

Rod Estvan

Athena wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

School closings, Rod

All schools should provide a quality education for children. Teachers of low performing schools should work with educators of high performing schools for suggestions on intervention to increase performance. Low performing students usually have parents who are not able to help their kids at home due to a variety of reasons. As a result of that problem, special tutoring programs should be organized to help those kids. Teachers cannot continue to warehouse poor and special needs kids because they are not passing tests. There are numerous software programs for individualized instruction. There are courses on methods of teaching certain students, etc.

Jay Rehak wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Half-filled schools should remain open for financial reasons

It's well past time for the business community of Chicago to stand up and say "No more" to the shuttering of schools. It's well past time for every Chicago homeowner to stand up and say "No More" to the shuttering of schools. Each school that is shuttered creates another vacant building that attracts graffiti and gang activity. Each school that is closed harms the businesses that surround those schools because any vacant building adds to the deterioration of a neighborhood. Homeowners who live near a vacant school should be outraged, as their property values will go down as a consequence. Consider vacant storefronts. Any realtor will tell you that vacant storefronts or abandoned buildings have long term negative impacts to a community. It's time people woke up and realized that a building that is utilized is far more valuable to a community than the "savings" of an empty building. Out of self-interest, every Chicagoan should be fighting the creation of vacant buildings.

http://importanceofschools.blogspot.com/

Free Speech wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Privatization underway

Rahm's plan to privatize OUR tax payer funded public schools is underway. And he has such disdain for the children and communities that will impacted by his folly that he headed for the hills (literally) to ski his cares away while the school systems is in crisis. We must hold this mayor accountable - personally, I can't wait to vote him OUT in two years. He's a disgrace and this city deserves better.

Northside wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Obama

Did Obama say one thing??? Is the IFT and CTU still supporting this guy? WHY did we?

Marcia wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

One term mayor

(CBS) – A study by Chicago area university professors has found, if history is any guide, the Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close 53 schools will fail when all is said and done.
The professors are part of the research group Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE). Several of them looked at other school closing studies from Chicago and around the country.
What they found, according to Roosevelt University Sociology Associate Professor Stephanie Farmer, was that most students from 44 closed schools over 10 years in Chicago did not wind up in better academic situations.
“It’s just not the students from closed schools whose academic performance may suffer, but also the kids from the receiving school, partly due to – in part – the increase in the classroom sizes,” she said.

Farmer also said there was more violence associated with the so-called “receiving” schools that got students from schools that had closed.
Farmer said the school under-use rationale for closing schools is right out of the playbook of pro-charter school organizations like the Broad Foundation, of which Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is a disciple.
She also questions the 30 students to a classroom number as the level CPS believes schools should have in order to be utilized fully.
“The Chicago Lab School that Rahm Emanuel sends his kids to only have like 23 students per classroom,” she said. “These elites that are going to determine that 30 kids are the ideal utilization level certainly don’t send their kids to schools that have 30 students per
Farmer also said she doubts CPS will save any money by closing schools, and she said the district will wind up opening more charter schools.
Closing schools, she said will likely cause more racial disparity in Chicago, with impoverished neighborhoods getting even worse without a neighborhood public school.
“You keep taking resources out of African-American neighborhoods, particularly the most distressed ones where you have vacant properties,” she said. “They need to sell these properties to entice people to move back into these neighborhoods. How can you entice people to move back into a neighborhood when there is not a convenient public school?”

***********************

Okay so why is this a good thing? Is it because certain high profile money operatives say so? Or is it that they are so politically connected.
Also, how is AUSL still able to operate turnaround schools when they have a success rate of 20%? On the west side nearly all of the schools run by AUSL were either on the list to be closed or are now on the list of schools to close. But yet, AUSL will have additional schools to be unsuccessful with once more. Amazing. Bethune is an example of an AUSL school. Their door will closed and their students will be filtered out to other schools in the area.

The people of Chicago need to take a page from the people of D.C. When MayorFenton was deaf to what the public was saying about what they wanted for their schools and as he allowed Ms. Rhee to do whatever she wanted. They voted him out and she left along with him. I hope Rham and Ms. Byrd-Bennett are listening. Oh that's right, their tone deaf. Hello 2015!

Chicago wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Real Estate

I don't think that this is about election. This is about real estate deals and promises. Do you remember the Chicago bid for the Olympics? That proposal also caused for massive school closings. When that didn't work, it appears plan b was put into action. Once this administration leaves, there will be enough deals and deals for friends to fund a lifetime. I not sure if this guy ever really cared about being the mayor for the sake of leadership. This is kind of like another investment banking situation for him. BBB has no interest in a future in Chicago, that was not what she was hired to do. I am sure that her exit package will be generous. Does she still commute from Ohio? If so, are there any planned protest for her front yard? I am certain that there are sister unions and parent groups that won't mind taking Chicago concerns to her real place of residence.

Tuff wrote 1 year 30 weeks ago

Sad but true-Proof is in the pudding!

I completely agree with the school closings. Parents concerned about gang line crossings, medical staff on premises, larger classroom sizes, inconvenience due to location/proximity changes will need to adjust. Home schooling, private schools, tutor, bus, change areas etc etc... None of these alternatives are financially easy-that's well understood. The CPS system is not set up as a luxury school system. The vast number of closing are indeed in poor areas simply because the funds are not available to foster children successfully in a school district with lower tax payers. The goal should be for every parent to offer their child the best foundation possible in hopes they will develop into 'successful', responsible, contributing citizens to society. What is the college/trade school enrollment or adulthood success rate of these students coming from the same schools that are closing? What is their high school graduation rate? That's the bottom line. Granted a child is not responsible or at fault for the environment they grow up in which in the vast majority of cases serves as the basic element in advancement or hindrance to their future-but that is the responsibility of the parents. The children moving to better schools are giving a better opportunity. The children placed in equally failing schools are no better off or worse off than where they started. Walking 8 blocks thru gang infested areas is again the responsibility of the parents. To break the cycle is near impossible and many of these families have only known and are to resume in those areas. While it is heartbreaking, that is the truth. A child molded to succeed and disciplined to excel will do so under any school system-It is neither the teachers nor alternate tax payers problem to instill that in them. That's why children are born to parents and not sprouted from the ground. Guide your children accordingly-for you are the primary molder for their future and the rest of the society's future.

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