Chicago Closing More Schools

February 14 2006

On January 26, the Chicago Public Schools announced new plans for closing several schools and "reorganizing" others.

Under the plan, two elementary schools (Frazier and Morse) and one high school (Collins) will be shut down. Sherman elementary school will be "reinvented;" all the teachers will be fired and the school will be turned over to a private operator, Academy for Urban School Leadership, which already runs four other Chicago schools. Carver High School will also be "reinvented" and its local school council will be eliminated.

CPS is also continuing its program for phasing out Lindblom, Bowen and DuSable High Schools as well as the Arie and KIPP Chicago Youth Village middle schools. As many as 100-200 teachers may lose their jobs through these closures and reorganizations.

The CPS tried to justify the closures by claiming that the students from these schools performed poorly on standardized tests; Mayor Daley said that the children from these poor and minority neighborhoods "are going to end up on the street or prison." (quoted in "Chicago Sun-Times," 2/1/06). The CPS also claimed that the schools slated for closure were "underutilized."

This is the criminal logic of the CPS and Mayor Daley, who are trying to blame their victims (the school children) for the failures of the school hierarchy and city government. They are the authorities who are responsible for systematically underfunding and overcrowding the public schools, especially those in working class and minority neighborhoods.

These latest closings are part of the city's ongoing program of underfunding and devastating public education for the working class. The CPS is already in the middle of its "Renaissance 2010" plan which is shutting down or reorganizing 100 schools, many of which will be turned into charter schools runs by private corporations or the military. The city's plan is to both privatize the public schools and to strengthen a "tracking system" of unequal education in which a small percentage of students are prepared for college while the majority are trained for technical vocations or military services.