CTU President Karen Lewis and Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization’s Jitu Brown. Photo: Substance.
“The racial breakdown of the schools that are eligible to be closed is really an indictment on the fact that the district has operated without accountability in a two-tiered education system.
“What we should be saying instead of blaming parents, instead of blaming teachers or having low expectations, is, ‘Why can the school district set up excellent public schools on one side of town because it wants to keep that demographic there but starve out neighborhood schools in another community that’s African-American, and after the district neglects those schools, say ‘Look your schools are under-utilized, your test scores aren’t where they should be.”
– Jitu Brown, Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization
An analysis by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that 88%, 119 of the 129 schools that are on the list for possible closing are in Black neighborhoods.
That compares with 41.7% of CPS students district-wide who are African-American.
What CPS seems to be doing is setting up an explosive situation.
When the original list of schools targeted for closing first appeared thousands of parents, teachers and community residents flocked to hearings all over the city to express their unity and opposition to closing any school.
As the list has been pruned back, first to 129, and now a proposal for 80, CPS appears to be trying to isolate some schools and pacify others, pitting community against community.
It is a dangerous game.