Some Chicago Public Schools already know they’re closing

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Dozens of principals at Chicago Public Schools are finding out Thursday that their schools are being closed down.

Sources tell WGN News that 52 schools will be on that list. Officials at two schools — Enrico Fermi Elementary School, 1415 E. 70th St., and Miriam G. Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone — told WGN that they were notified Thursday that they would be closing.

Sources familiar with the school closing situation tell WGN that principals whose schools are on the closing list found out about their schools during an early morning conference call.

The principals were given the day to prepare their staffs and that CPS would release the list to the media at 5 p.m. Thursday, according to the source.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that several aldermen have already been told about schools closing in their wards.

Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st Ward, says he was told that Mahalia Jackson Elementary and Garrett A. Morgan Elementary are being closed.

Students arrived at Mahalia Jackson as usual Thursday.

“It’s a sad thing because kids need education out here,” said one father.  “Where are they going to go if they don’t have school?”

CPS says students at closed schools will be moved to better performing schools in the area.

“Are they going to have buses to take them there?  No.  I don’t think those kids are going to be safe,” said teacher Kimberly Benson.

“Right now we have eleven or twelve active gangs surrounding our schools,” said teacher Matthew Johnson.  “They’re talking about closing all these schools in one area, and that’s going to cause chaos in our communities.”

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis released a statement Wednesday saying, “This city cannot destroy that many schools. It will send our district into chaos.  These actions will put our students’ safety and academics at risk and will further destabilize our neighborhoods.”

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    • Educator 92

      Yes, just say whatever first comes to your small mind, "kid1339". I so don't look forward to seeing more of your unintelligent and unenlightened comments about CPS students in the future. Grow up, kid!

      • Brian Millersmith

        I agree with kid1339. Kids have absolutely no interest in acquiring an education. All they want to do is play video games, hang out in the streets and be gang bangers or wanna-be bangers. Some sort of system needs to be created wherein kids who don't want an education are mandated to join the armed services or serve severe jail time in Guatanimo Bay. 8 years of age sounds like a good starting point! When they turn a certain age, they are then sent to a mandatory Technical College – or again – Guatanimo Bay. Willing students, of course, are exempt. This would free up some space at Colleges and Universities, too.
        These little bastards need a good shaping up…

      • Educator 92

        "…mandated to join the armed forces…", so you want them to be uneducated, yet great with firearms? Pretty dumb idea. Further, "Mandatory technical college…", what college professors that you know of want students without basic skills in their classes. What are you smoking guy?

      • Fed up

        I don't agree with closing them all down. However, I do believe that we have to make the students parents take more responsibility for their kids education. Teachers can only teach in the classroom. They cannot make sure the parents help the kids with their studies after school, that's the parents job. So, how do we make the parents so their part. How about this; if your child has failing grades for more than two semesters, that parents welfare and government benefits will be cut off. Only then will the parents make sure that their child takes interest in their education.

  • Anthony Thomas

    The teachers need to be recycled – reassigned each year to other schools. This is the real problem. The teachers are lazy and are they are the problems for poor performing schools. They have been there for so long they simply don't care. I dated a (white) girl who was a teacher in a all black school with all black staff. They fired her and told her behind closed doors its because you don't fit in.

    Close them all!!!

    • Mr. SImmons

      moving teachers around every year would destroy any attempt by an instructional leader to build a positive learning environment. It would also be difficult to build relationships with students and their parents if teachers are in and out of the the community.

  • keeping real

    close school that is a great idea!!!! and make more prisons that where chicago society is going straight down the toliet!!!

    • Fed up

      I'm for that. It's where most will end up anyway. Let them get an education in there. The streets would be much safer!!

  • You're Dumb

    You guys all sound real smart. Looks like that Chicago education worked well for you or maybe you just didn’t go like half these kids at these schools. I’ve been in some of these schools and it is not lazy teaches. A lot of these kids don’t even come to school! If your kid is moving from district to district and out for weeks at a time how can a teacher fix that?
    These parents are also a mess. Spend a few days in one of these schools as a volunteer and then tell me it’s all about teachers.

  • April

    I am distrubed that both Morgan and Jackson are on the list. Both schools serve a significant Special Education population. My child attended the Early Childhood Education program at Morgan and it was phenomenal. My child attends extended school year [ESY] every year and the staff truly work with each individual child. It is a shame that no one considered the impact on these students. Both buildings are newer and better maintained than the option, Gresham Elementary. Alderman Brookins needs to step up, the parents need to file ISBE and federal complaints. I can guarantee if these children are sent to Gresham they will not receive the services outlined in their IEPs. I know that enrollment is down at both schools, but if CPS' real goal is to better utilize the existing schools than would it not be better to keep one of the two schools open and consolidate. They are both in walking distance of each other. Instead these children will be forced into the older building at Gresham Elementary. Gresham lacks the staff and leadership to take in these students. Gresham is older and lacking many of the needed ammenities that Morgan has to offer such as an elevator for students in wheelchairs and other physical impairments. Apparently, Mr. Brookins has not reached out to the parents at either school, nor has he considered the impact of the closure of these school on the most vulnarable of students, those with Special Needs.

  • educator456

    So wait… public schools are underutilized, underfunded, and understaffed; however, Rahmbo says we need more charter schools? Charter schools that get to use public school resources (such as social workers, psychologists, and facilities) further stretching an over stretched system.

    Also, explain to me how nobody in charge sees this correlation: The most violent crimes occur on the south and west areas of the city. Most of the schools on the closing list are from where? The south and west areas. Could there be a connection between poverty, crime, and access to resources?

  • spoolie

    you don't need schools, close them all and open up prisons. the schools crank out nothing but slacked jawed, pants draggin ,40 oz.swilling pos.

  • noskininthisgame

    Let's not forget that many of the half-empty schools targeted for closure are located in neighborhoods whose populations have crashed after decades of middle-class flight to the suburbs. How to fill these schools up again? Convince those emigres to move back to bombed-out, crime-ridden neighborhoods they had good reason to move out of. Convincing them is going to be the hard part.

    This flight to the suburbs has created the 500-pound gorilla in the room: the number of school-age kids in Chicago has dropped by a third since 1980 (over 600,000 then, 400,000 now). Unless there are a third less school buildings, something's very wrong with that picture.

  • tiana chandler

    This is just sad Oliver Wnedell Holmes School is closing where do these kids suppose to go you want them to walk through GANG WAR LINES just because you sed your kids to Good Schools isn't fair to them these kids put they lif on the line getting up walking and being walked to neighborhood schools i am out done at these school officials take a walk in our shoes or these terrified kids shoes what is the Mayor gone do about this…?

  • Get it together, CPS

    It's not the teachers…. CPS does not have a good enough truancy policy. Kids can be absent 20 days and then show up on the 20th day and not get dropped. Parents are not reprimanded. I know of kids who did not go to school for 2 years who show up at neighborhood schools and they HAVE to take them. Again, no parental accountability. On top of that, let's have a conversation about why these schools are underutilized: charters and all of the projects that have been torn down in the past decade. Charters do not perform any better than public schools, but because they shortchange their teachers and run their schools like businesses, they seem better to the public. If the merger of these elementary schools means that students in CPS will ALL have textbooks, libraries, and social workers, I am for it. Unfortunately, I do not think that will ever happen. The decent schools will continue to get resources while the schools who are under performing due to outside social factors will get nothing. The parents need to be fired up that their children aren't treated the same throughout the city!!!! That is the real tragedy.

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