FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement from Chicago Progressive Reform Coalition on CPS School Closings
CHICAGO (March 21, 2013)--Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Coalition members Aldermen John Arena (45); Bob Fioretti (2); Toni Foukes (15); Leslie Hairston (5); Ricardo Munoz (22); Roderick Sawyer (6); Nick Sposato (36); and Scott Waguespack (32), issued the following statement Thursday in response to the news that Chicago Public Schools will close more than 50 schools.
We are deeply disappointed at the report that the Chicago Public Schools administration has decided to proceed with its school closing plan.
This plan, if implemented, will be the largest mass closing of public schools by any school district in the country, according to the Sun-Times. It has been opposed by tens of thousands of vocal involved parents, teachers and students, who have made the case for the vital roles their local schools play in maintaining education, stability, safety and resources in their communities.
In going ahead with this plan, the Chicago Public Schools administration and the Board of Education are violating the Illinois General Assembly’s requirement that it disclose its ten-year master facilities plan first.
Moreover, we are concerned that the plan disproportionately targets schools serving African-American and Latino children. As a result, this massive closure would leave entire neighborhoods as virtual "school deserts," disrupting the lives of children and families and depressing property values.
The impact of these closings is overwhelmingly negative and socially costly: It will have a negative impact on children who are forced to travel long distances to the receiving school, or to be bussed out of their communities. Children will have to travel through unfamiliar and possibly dangerous neighborhoods beset with gang activity. Schools which receive children will be at risk of overcrowding, thus negatively affecting both the new arrivals and the children already in the receiving schools.
The CEO has assured that all children from closed schools will be assigned to a school which are performing better academically than the closed school. The Police Superintendent has assured that each child from closed schools will be afforded safe passage to and from school. The people of Chicago should hear how these assurances will come to bear before any changes are made. Such assurances have been hollow in the past, and there is no evidence they will be truer today.
The public deserves answers to these important questions: How much will it cost to move all these students and to ensure their safety and security? How will the new expenses be paid for? Until this and many other questions are explored, examined and presented for public review, we stand with our teachers, parents and other community stakeholders in calling call for an immediate moratorium on school closings.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stephanie Farmer, Roosevelt University
New Study from CReATE: School Closures will Negatively Impact Academic Performance, Destabilize Communities
CHICAGO (March 21, 2013) -- Closing public schools in Chicago will negatively impact academic performance and create more hardship for communities that are already suffering from disinvestment, according to a new study by Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE), a group of Chicago-area university professors specializing in educational research.
After a review of scholarly research and new data on school closings occurring in Chicago and around the country, CReATE, a network for more than 100 professors from Chicago-area universities, urged the Chicago Board of Education on Thursday to reject a proposal that would shutter 80 neighborhood schools.
“We find that the history of previous school closures and school actions reveal that closures will negatively impact academic performance and create hardship for communities. Simply put, we believe that massive school closures will do more harm than good for Chicago’s children,” said David Stovall, professor education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and contributor to the CReATE report.
Calling the school-closure issue “the most critical education policy decision today” for Chicago and its future, CReATE researchers found evidence that:
School closures historically have had a negative impact on children’s academic performance. Analyses of school closures in Chicago reveal that 94% of students from closed CPS schools did not go on to “academically strong” new schools. The evidence also shows that students transitioned to new schools experience lower test scores and are at an increased risk of dropping out. School closings also negatively affect the achievement levels for students in the receiving schools due to increased class sizes and overcrowding in receiving schools.
School closures have not historically resulted in the savings predicted by school officials. In national studies of school closings, closure-related costs have consistently been underestimated or understated by officials, as districts found themselves paying for closed school site maintenance or demolition, moving services, new costs of transporting students and support for both displaced students and the schools that received them. A Pew study shows that CPS is having difficulty disposing of the schools they have already closed. Furthermore, public school districts may also lose federal and state grants if parents remove students from the destabilized public school system and send them to charter schools.
Chicago Public Schools measurement of ideal utilization of 30 children per classroom reflects poor education policy. The evidence shows a huge gap between the number of empty seats CPS claims it has versus what CPS has reported in their yearly data, thus casting doubt on the magnitude of the so-called underutilization problem. More importantly, studies on class sizes advise against the Chicago Board of Education’s standard of ideal utilization at 30 children per classroom. The most credible study on the impact of class size, Tennessee’s Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) program found that students from smaller classes outperformed students from larger classes, with the biggest gains seen amongst African American students, lower-income students, and students from urban areas.
School closures have historically benefited charter school expansion. Previous rounds of CPS school closures have facilitated charter school expansion whereby 40% of closed CPS school buildings have been leased to privately operated charter schools. Enrollment data show that the presence of charter schools contributes to declining CPS enrollment in neighborhood schools, which goes on to create the conditions for neighborhood school closures. Charter school funding from the state is expanding while funds for public neighborhood schools are significantly reduced. Finally, CPS signed an agreement with the Gates Foundation to introduce 60 more charter schools in Chicago at precisely the same time CPS threatens to close 80 neighborhood schools due to underutilization.
School closures exacerbate racial inequalities in Chicago. Approximately 90% of the school closings will impact predominately African-American communities. The pattern of schools being considered for closure overlays the patterns of disinvestment in African-American communities such as closed public housing units, foreclosures, city-owned vacant properties and troubled mortgages. We believe that closing schools will deepen the distress and insecurity that these communities are already confronting.
School closings will contribute to even more violence Chicago communities are enduring. Studies of previous school closures in Chicago found spikes of violence in and around the elementary and high schools where students from closed schools were sent.
For all these reasons, CReATE has determined that school closures are not in the best interest of Chicago children, parents, residents and communities.
“We strongly believe that the pathway to stronger schools for children is paved by safe and stable school environments, and strong communities. School closures undermine these conditions,” Stephanie Farmer, professor of sociology at Roosevelt University and contributor to the CReATE report.
The CReATE Research Brief on School Closures is available at http://createchicago.blogspot.com.
The briefing paper was prepared by professors Stephanie Farmer of Roosevelt University, Isaura Pulido of Northeastern Illinois University, Pamela J. Konkol of Concordia University, Kate Phillippo of Loyola University, David Stovall of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Mike Klonsky of DePaul University.
Если совсем кратко, то идея в том, что такие массовые закрытия школ приведут к тому, что communities станут еще более "малоценными", еще больше будет падать стоимость недвижимости, районы останутся без объединяющих центров. Что власти обещали, что будут транспортировать детей в школы "безопасными маршрутами", но так и не высказались, каким именно образом эта безопасность дует обеспечена, и так далее.
А сегодня в городе была большая демонстрация против закрытия школ, я там не была, а Игорь был:
Все фотографии от Игоря - вот тут.