Saturday, February 24, 2018

More on the plans and activism regarding the closure of Englewood high schools

I got wind of a program from Chicago Public Radio scheduled for both Saturday & Sunday via Nextdoor. So tune in to your radios wherever you are 91.5 FM or tune in online at

So the program called "Empty Schools, Empty Promises" airs as follows:
  • Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 3:00 PM
  • Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 9:00 PM 
In other news about CPS schools the Chicago Sun-Times further discusses the ultimate closures of four schools in Englewood. Robeson High School will be demolished and in its place will be the a newly built high school for Englewood residents.
Oh yeah found this on YouTube on Friday, Sun-Times reporter Lauren FitzPatrick heads to Kennedy-King College (6301 S Halsted St) to document a meeting with regards to closing these 4 Englewood high schools. Incidentally Ms. FitzPatrick wrote the article linked in the tweet above this video is embedded in that article. [VIDEO]

As you see in this vid above, the meetings proved to be contentious. It was really an unpopular move for Englewood residents and students for Team Englewood, Hope, Harper, and Robeson to be closed and students in an initial plan forced to attend schools oustide of their neighborhood - more on new plan here. The main aspect of this article is that apparent outsiders from Englewood seem to support the closures:

Among the loudest voices backing the plans have been Dori Collins, a longtime CPS contractor who co-chairs Englewood’s CPS Community Action Council, and fellow CAC member Tyson Everett, who heads the West Englewood Coalition, which is based in Homewood.

Asked about her ties to Englewood, Collins, who says she doesn’t live in the South Side community, says she has done volunteer work with schools and points to training programs that she has run for parents under contract with CPS. The bulk of the work on $157,000 of work for CPS that Collins has done since 2010 was done elsewhere in the city.
That a key supporter claiming to represent the community is a paid CPS contractor seemed to surprise Jackson when asked in an interview about Collins.

“Do we have a vendor?” Jackson, who initially pushed the plan as CPS’ chief education officer before being named chief executive officer after Forrest Claypool was forced out in December, asked a Sun-Times reporter. “I don’t think she’s doing business with CPS.”

Records show Collins has received about $15,000 from CPS during the time officials have been pushing ahead on the high school plan.

Collins is also a member of the committee to shape the new school, to be built on the Robeson campus at 6832 S. Normal, and opening September 2019.

Everett and others from the West Englewood Coalition say it was formed at least five years ago, though it was incorporated in November by Everett and relatives including his wife and son, listing the family’s address in Homewood. Other members of the committee working on the new school say they hadn’t heard of the group until last year.
Sort of related via WBEZ, Hope High School was considered something of a jewel as late as the 2000s and as happens things change. The city closed down some high schools and planned to create more schools and that means Hope starts to have new problems with students from closed schools and it also means declining enrollment. It also means Hope is closing thanks to seemingly changes created by the City and CPS.
And allow me to except a little from this article:
Between 2005 and 2015, CPS opened nine high schools within about two miles of Hope. Johnson said many families were enticed by the prospect that the schools would offer their children something better.

“It turned into a competition,” he said. “Those schools ... they campaign, they go out and knock on doors. Some of them knocked on our doors.”

Hope was not only in competition with new charter schools, but also with other traditional neighborhood Chicago public schools.

CPS over the years has expanded choice across the board, allowing district-run high schools to accept students from anywhere if they have space. And many traditional high schools added attractive specialty programs, such as STEM or International Baccalaureate programs, that draw students.

Hope did not.
To be fair, what justifies building a new school in Englewood in my mind was what was this new school going to offer that the other schools CPS high school didn't already. Though this was before I found out not only that Englewood was going to get a new high school - Roseland had been in the running. It was also before it was in the news that four high schools would be closed due to low enrollment.

What do you all think about these stories?


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