After months of arguing and anguish, the closing of 50 Chicago Public Schools will begin Wednesday.
It stood out on the list of Chicago public schools slated to close. Calhoun North Elementary in East Garfield Park had been recognized as a high-performing school that put up some of the best math scores in the city. On Wednesday, the school will close not for the year, but for good.
“I believe that the district has historically kind of lived on a charge card, I guess,” Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett told a crowd gathered Tuesday night at a Chicago Tribune event in the loop. “We just weren’t paying careful attention to finances, which is one of the reasons we’re in the situation we’re in now.”
Outside the venue, protesters armed with toilet paper yet again voiced their anger over the closing of 50 schools.
At another event earlier in the day, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, Karen Lewis, had blasted the mayoral advisors who helped reshape the troubled district as a bunch of “rich white people” who know little about the needs of inner-city kids.
“We’re creating more and more problems when you’re closing schools,” Lewis said. “You’re changing more curriculum, you’re changing evaluation, you’re doing this, now you’re changing the budget. I mean, it’s just so much chaos and I have to understand on some level, why do we continue to put our schools into chaos?”
Not all of the schools will close their doors Wednesday. The remainder of the schools will close Monday.