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Mixed reactions to CPS school closings

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Shock waves are still being felt across Chicago as parents and teacher’s assess the impact of the proposed CPS closure of 54 schools.

Close to 30,000 kids face the prospect of changing schools as a result of yesterday’s bombshell announcement.

The impending closures have also provoked an angry reaction from community leaders and the Chicago Teacher’s union which defends controversial comments made about Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Community activist Paul Jakes says if the blood of any child is lost then that blood will rest on the hands of Emanuel.

Chicago Teachers’ Union President Karen Lewis says decision is “racist and classist” and she is angered that Mayor Emanuel released this information while he is out of town on a family vacation and right before CPS students go on Spring Break.
Emanuel says the closures are painful but unavoidable due to a looming $1 Billion dollar budget deficit.

Community leaders worry about the potential for violence  with children shuffling to new schools and crossing boundaries in gang-infested neighborhoods.

Chicago School Board members and the Mayor say the closures are painful medicine for the city’s ailing educational system with underutilized and under-equipped buildings, in many cases without air conditioning  libraries or computers.

Board member Andrea Zopp says the district is saving money by closing schools that are only 50% enrolled and reassigning those students to buildings where they can invest money and improve the learning environment.   Zopp says CPS expects to save $500 Million from the closures.

Barbara Radner with the DePaul Center for Urban Studies has spent decades working exclusively with Chicago Public schools.  She hears the parents and teacher’s concerns.  But she says the problem of underutilized schools is real.  The end result, in many cases, are problems like split-grade classrooms or partial curriculums.

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  • Brian Millersmith

    Is the overall enrollment really going down in CPS? I could see this as true in affluent areas, however, in the neighborhoods in which these schools are closing – "those people" seem to have no trouble pumping out the offspring…

    • Imahn Dahnet

      You have the internet. Why don't you just look it up for yourself? Are you lazy? No, you just want to ask rhetorical questions and make your seemingly racist comments cause you think you're funny. You just sound unintelligent to me. I am sure some of the white-trash on here will agree with you though. And then you can feel good. Consider yourself a leader among the white-trash. Hah!

  • Joymar

    What is "murdering" Chicago is the CTU. They Stop demanding excessive raises and benefits and bankrupting the City of Chicago. True, iPods and overhead projectors do not improve the education of our children…..good teachers do! Obviously, our teachers are not performing their job as shown by test scores. We need to stop tenure. If children are not learning, replace the teachers! We cannot continue to support inept teachers!!!

    I'm not sure what race Karen Lewis is, but I resent her making the closure of schools a racial issue….that is just rabble rousing tactics. Schools are being closed where there is an excess of cl***rooms, unfortunately, this is in the black communities.

    • Justice

      What is "murdering" our nation is that there is no value for education and respect for good teachers. It is ignorant to judge teachers based on test scores. Teachers in poor neighborhoods are struggling to compensate for all of the disadvantages our students come to school with. Teachers are spending money out of their own pockets because they have insufficient resources. They are highly underpaid for what they have to deal with in the classroom. It is not tenure which is causing a decline in education. Experienced teachers are better equipped to deal with student safety, well being, and academic growth. Principals are lying on teacher evaluations to get rid of tenure teachers and hiring inexperienced teachers to save the board money. This is NOT a good investment for education in the long run. If you want to improve education, STOP blaming teachers and provide them with the support they need to be successful instead.