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Robert Winner


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Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is closing 54 schools

Barbara Byrd Bennett Chief Executive of CPS announced that 54 schools will be closed at the end of the school year because the system has a 1 billion dollar deficit in a story carried by NBC News. Ms Bennett stated " the district is 20 percent under capacity — almost 100,000 students — leaving many schools half-empty. The district will save $500 million to $800 million for each school that is closed, she has said in community forums and news interviews leading up to Thursday's announcement."

I am no math genius but if I multiply 500 Million by 54 schools I get 27 Billion and if by the high estimate of 800 Million I get 43 billion. That would suggest a over kill to me. Further I could not find a decrease in Chicago population ...

Where did these kids go to? Is closing 54 schools really the answer? What are the options?

Since this is happening in many large cities .... In order to be better informed and better prepared what would you suggest to fix the existing problems?


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  • Mar 26 2013: I lived in Chicago up until last year and my sister taught at a charter school in Englewood, a high-crime, low-income neighborhood.

    I have not kept up with everything in this recent push but I know that a huge part of what the city is dealing with now is cleaning up the mess former Mayor Daly left them in. He went on a binge of privatizing revenue sources to get windfalls to make budgets work and then jumped ship when there weren't any more quick fixes. I don't know enough to have an opinion of Rahm Emmanuel's mayorship, but I do know he inherited a really rough situation.

    Also inflaming this issue are the racial and class tensions in the city. The schools that are getting closed are in black and brown neighborhoods that also happen to be least served by the public transit system. When the transit authority wanted to do work on the Red Line section that serves the mostly black, mostly poor South side, they implemented a plan to close the tracks for months and use shuttle buses in the interim. In the past when they've done major construction on El lines in the white and middle class Brown Line, there has been no interruption in service. It might be that schools need to be closed. I know that the politicians know that the poor and the undereducated will whine and fuss and make noise but closing schools in middle and upper class neighborhoods would undoubtedly lead to an all out political war and plenty of lawyers on the scene.

    My read on the actual rationale for the situation: When someone has to pay the price, it's always the poor's turn.

    The best fix I can suggest is Family Literacy programming. Family Literacy is a wonderful model that enables parents to reengage with education and gain the confidence to step up to the plate as their child's first teacher. Education is too big a job for the school system. Always has been. Always will be.
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      Mar 26 2013: Josh, I was in Illinois during the Evert Dirskson and the original Daly political machine. I can tell you that there has always been racial and class issues in Chicago and much of Illinois. Richard J Daly (daddy) ran the most currupt administration in America using the strong arm of unions. He made the same promises of being for the poor and programs for the black to achieve equality ... he made these promises over and over ... things continued to get worse. Rahm Emanuel was a campaign fund raiser for Richard M. Daly and part of the Democratic machine in Illinois. He help to broker the 10 year union deal under Daly. There is nothing new in Chicago politics ... it is still crroked ... it still preaches relief to the poor, black, and browns ... it is a micro of the federal government where the 1% are to blame (class division) and the poor need more programs (that the economy cannot support and is voted against by republicans attempting budget controls and reduced spending). Daly and Emanuel are becoming multi millionares at the expense of the people and blaming others.

      Your read: "the poor pay the price" is accurate ... it is all a political game. Cutting education is part of the sequestrain BS and blame will be laid at the feet of republicians who "failed" to vote the way the administration wanted thus causing the problem ... this will be the major issue in the next election.

      As a Independent I see problems at both sides politically. But the Daly / Emanual machine will continue to roll and will remain blamless and the people will continue to drink the koolade and vote them back in.

      Thanks for the reply ..... glad I moved ..... Bob.

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