Monday, March 25, 2013

Mitchell: Closing low-performing school programs is long overdue

Mary Mitchell
Another perspective on the school closings. Both sides makes sense to me parents are concerned for the safety of their children and the city can't afford to keep many of these schools open. Something does have to give here.

Mary Mitchell at least attempts to explain the rationale for closing some of the schools. BTW, you may need an account with the Sun-Times to be able to read the whole column:
There is no easy way to close a school, even one with a floor full of empty desks.

But Chicago Public Schools Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett appears to have given it her best shot. She appointed a commission that was guided by Frank Clark, the former CEO of ComEd. Clark not only stands shoulder-to-shoulder with top executives across this country, he has a long track record of trying to improve the quality of life for African Americans in this city.

That Byrd-Bennett put this explosive issue in his hands should have been enough to convince naysayers that the matter would be handled delicately.

And it was.
But to hear opponents tell it, closing schools is just another conspiracy to deny African-American children the right to be educated in their own neighborhoods.


Where were these people when children sat in stagnant classrooms and fell years behind their grade levels?

Where were they when these children were trying to learn in deteriorating buildings while new schools were being built elsewhere?

Where were they when neighborhoods became so dangerous, a lot of these students had to hook up with gang-members just so they could get back and forth to school?

Education is the only thing that can save these children from a broken life. But instead of fighting to provide children in public schools a quality education, too many of us are fighting to preserve a tired status quo.

Well, the blame game isn’t working anymore.
None of us are very happy about this, however, there are arguments that it must be done. And here's hoping that if you're affected that your child will be able to go to a good school. If not then you have every right to let the school board know that they haven't lived up to their obligations.

1 comment:

  1. Mitchell's column is insulting to parents, teachers and community activists who have been fighting for decades against Chicago's educational apartheid. What does she mean, "where have they been?" They have been the same place they are now. In the schools and in the streets (Wednesday) working to improve and transform schools -- not close or destroy them. No, opposing mass school closings in targeted communities is not "defending the status quo." Quite the opposite.


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