Research group criticizes CPS school closings plan

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A local educational research group took a closer look at the original CPS proposal and issued a highly critical report.

The group called “Create” is now questioning the effectiveness and motivation of the proposed closings, turnarounds and other changes.

The group is made up of 100 local researchers, advocates and CPS parents.

They say the numbers just don’t add up when it comes to the savings, educational benefits and impact on certain neighborhoods.

The CPS plan to close 54 elementary schools has been called “necessary” by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and “racist” by Teachers Union president, Karen Lewis.

“We see a disproportionate effect on African-American kids,” says CPS parent and researcher Josh Radinsky.

Using CPS numbers, Create says of the 16,000 students facing closure of their schools 87% are African-American, 9% are Latino and less than 1% are white.

CPS recommendations calling for 54 schools to close, 11 to combine and six schools to be put in turnaround would impact about 30,000 students.

The research group says that number is higher and 45,000 students would be making some type of transition under the CPS proposal.

The research group says the plan would also hurt special needs students.

Underutilization and a $1 billion budget shortfall are the reasons given for the drastic plan.

The research group analyzed the original CPS plan without the likely changes we are hearing about Wednesday.

Radinsky says his group met with CPS and urged them to postpone any school changes for at least a year.

WGN contacted CPS for a reaction to the report and have not received a response.

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