Chicago Public Schools are planning to ‘turnaround’ three schools; Gresham Elementary in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, Dvorak Technology Academy in Lawndale and McNair Elementary in Austin.
CPS will turn over operations to the privately run ‘Academy for Urban School Leadership’ next year.
Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey is outraged by the decision. He`s concerned about the teachers that are losing their jobs. Sharkey also believes the move is more about politics than education, because current board of education president David Vitale is the former chairman of AUSL.
CPS says the schools are ‘failing academically’. According to the CPS website all three fall more than 20% below the CPS average for ISAT testing and have been on probation for at least six years.
But Sharkey says those numbers are misleading because more than 97% of the students at the schools are low income and many lack a stable home life. He adds the overwhelming majority of students at the schools are black and according to CTU more than 60% of the teachers at the three schools are black as well.
CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett framed the ‘turnarounds’ as the part of her plan to improve the district. It`s a plan that closed nearly 50 schools due to underenrollment last year. Byrd Bennett gave this statement to the tribune:
“What I wanted to do last year was to get the heavy lifting out of the way… so now as we look at our schools at the lowest trajectory, I don`t think we can just close an eye and say, `well, we`re just going to move along.` we`ve got to also take action.”
But Sharkey calls this action an ‘unfair punishment’ for students and teachers.