Julie Vassilatos read the report of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research about the closing of 50 schools in one day in 2013. She knew that there was no academic gain for the children affected.


But there was one measurable result that no one talked about: Sorrow.

“The sorrow of children whose schools were closed.

“It’s measurable. The researchers measured it. They liken the losses that the students–and teachers, staff, and families–experienced, to grief. The technical term for it is “institutional mourning.” Children and staff talked about losing their school “families,” spoke of the forced separations like a divorce, or a death. Generations-long relationships with schools ended abruptly after a pained, humiliating school year of battling to keep them open–schools that served as neighborhood anchors, social roots, home of beloved teachers. Most of the 50 shuttered schools have since stood empty and fallow after the closings, untended eyesores perpetually in the view of the kids who lived nearby, monuments to loss.

“Thousands of children who experienced this loss, all at once. And it’s long term–it did not go away in a week or a month or a year.

“Does it matter to anyone? Does it matter to the mayor? Would he say: but what is that to me?

“What is it to him? The wholesale destruction of 50 communities in predominantly poor and minority neighborhoods, for no measurable benefit, leaving the measurable sadness of thousands of children in its wake?

“We can only hope it’s the beginning of the end of mayoral control of CPS.”