JEFFREY BROWN: The Chicago Public Schools proposal would close 54 underutilized schools, forcing the relocation of approximately 30,000 students. The district says the move would save $560 million dollars over the next decade.
CPS chief executive officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett addressed the plan in a video posted Wednesday on the district’s Web site. …
… KAREN LEWIS, Chicago Teachers Union: Well, we oppose it because it’s completely destabilizing of neighborhoods in which their neighborhood is already destabilized.
Jesse Ruiz is very good at laying out the problems from a spreadsheet analysis. And it makes perfect sense. Oh, let’s put two places together that are underutilized. The problem is, the reason most of these buildings are underutilized is because we have had decades of school closings.
So, the school closings have created this underutilization issue. And one of the things that is very problematic about it is, if you listen to him, it’s all corporate-speak. So, this is an attack. It’s a corporate attack on public education. We have 25 buildings right now that are still vacant from the closings.
I love how he says, well, we’re going to repurpose these buildings. Those are all perhaps. I hope everybody noticed that. There’s no plan for this. There’s no safety plan block by block. People do not understand how unsafe Chicago is right now. I know you have heard it and you have talked about it. But, literally, we have 59 different gangs in Chicago and 650 branches of those gangs.
So, we’re talking block by block. So sending children from one place to the next could be deadly. And, in addition, there are a lot of special ed programs. I was at a school yesterday that was a fairly new building that had already been retrofitted with the things that they said they wanted to give, libraries, computer labs, science labs, beautiful building.
They’re being sent to a school that is much, much older, not in good shape, and not really equipped to handle the children with special needs there.
That last part would send bells off for any real reporter. Why would you ever shut down a school with new equipment and special adaptions for an older less adapted school? That is something a real reporter would follow up on.
WETA came out of the Arlington County Public School System. Elizabeth Campbell had a profound commitment to the public schools. The legal heirs of Ed Campbell are those lawyers fighting to keep DC public schools open. Sharon Percy Rockefeller and Dalton Delan have allowed the NewsHour to trample on that legacy. They owe public school teachers and parents an on air apology. Which they will get on the 12th of never.