Chicago Public Schools announced a list of 129 schools that may be closed. This is what reform looks like. You cure the disease by killing the patient. You bomb the village and reduce it to rubble to “save” it.

Shame on Rahm Emanuel.

This is a message from a CPS parent group:

Raise Your Hand is deeply disappointed that the city and Chicago Public Schools has ignored important feedback from the Commission on school utilization by placing 129 schools on the list for potential closure.

As pointed out in previous statements, the CPS utilization figures are based on a flawed mathematical formula that allows for large class sizes, doesn’t include enough space for ancillary rooms and doesn’t properly account for special education classrooms. In recent visits to so-called underutilized schools, which have been placed on this closure list, Raise Your Hand observed the following examples:

A school with a 37% special education population requires many more special education rooms with smaller class size than the average school.

A school with 3 autism rooms of 8 students and not one empty room.

A school with a thriving art program – dance, drumming, visual art, theater, with beautiful mosaics and other art projects around a thriving building ….and gang lines surrounding many streets around the school.

Schools that use a large portion of their title 1 money for reduced class size – something that CPS does not recognize in their standard utilization formula.

A school that uses one floor for a community partnership with the YMCA which allows students to be in the building from 7am-6:30pm

Based on their past handling of school closures, we do not believe that CPS has demonstrated the capacity or institutional knowledge to conduct closings in a fair and justified manner.

This is the same conclusion made by the task force formed to assess utilization.

We are deeply concerned for how the most vulnerable children in Chicago will be impacted by these closings, and how those schools that will receive displaced students will be impacted.

Receiving schools will likely have to contend with overcrowded classrooms and a loss of ancillary space for music, art, special education, etc.

It is unclear how CPS can find high-performing schools with enough space to allow for the addition of so many more students.

It is deeply disconcerting that CPS is willing to displace such a high number of special education, homeless, and students who are benefitting from reduced class.

If the schools on this list are closed, 1,938 homeless students will be displaced from their school. We believe closing this number of schools will not scratch the surface of the projected deficit for next year and will cause significantly more harm than good.

Here is the list of 129 schools:

http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Policies_and_guidelines/Documents/SchoolUtilizationList_02122013.pdf

If you are a parent at one of these schools and want to connect with other parents, especially regarding the issue of special education, please email us: info@ilraiseyourhand.org

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Raise Your Hand Coalition
Chicago, IL 60622
United States