Chicago is closing 49 elementary schools and one high school. All are underenrolled and underperforming. Most are in black neighborhoods.
Closing neighborhood schools won’t help low-income, inner-city students, writes Marilyn Rhames, a charter school teacher who backs most education reforms.
How will destabilizing up to 30,000 students and making many of them cross into vicious gang territory to attend rival schools make them learn better? How will increasing class size to well over 30 students improve academic results? How does making the African-American community, which will bear 90 percent of the burden, feel bullied and disenfranchised work to enhance parental and civic involvement with the school district?
. . . There aren’t enough iPads, air conditioning, new libraries, and start-up IB programs at the new schools to make me go along with this.
Closing only the worst schools would have given the district time to perfect its implementation plans, Rhames writes. ” Right now the district is asking firefighters to double as glorified security and crossing guards!”
In this story, a Chicago mother says “if you’re not teaching children, it needs closing.”