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Reports Address Racism of School Closings in Englewood and Throughout CPS

by CTU Communications  |  06/15/2017

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Education Policy Department this month released two studies on the history and damaging consequences of racial segregation in Chicago’s public schools, and the district’s relationship with the Englewood community in the wake of proposed school closings. 

Segregation and Inequality in Chicago Public Schools, Transformed and Intensified under Corporate Education Reform, originally published in the Education Policy Analysis Archives, examines the historic and contemporary dual segregation of Black teachers and Black students in CPS. The study shows how massive school closures, privatization and corporate school reform have both transformed and deepened segregation and resource-inequity across Chicago’s schools, and exposes the hypocrisy of CPS CEO Forrest Claypool’s lawsuit against the State of Illinois for racial discrimination in school funding.

Forrest said recently that he was deeply troubled that so little moral outrage had been directed at racially discriminatory school funding, but what about the moral outrage toward the racially discriminatory school district he leads? CTU President Karen Lewis said. He invokes the racist policies of the South to draw attention to inequitable school funding, but refuses to acknowledge the ways Jim Crow policies have shaped public education in our city—both in the past and under his administration.

The second study, Abandonment or Revival? What to Expect from a New High School in Englewood, discusses CPS’ plans to close Harper, Hope, TEAM Englewood and Robeson high schools despite little action in past years indicating a commitment to students living in the Englewood community. The report finds that through poor planning and segregationist policy decisions, CPS has deliberately undermined Englewood’s neighborhood high schools.

CPS has gone out of its way to sabotage those schools, yet wants parents to believe it is creating a new high school out of concern for their children, President Lewis said. But input from the most important stakeholders—teachers, families, the community—has been sorely missing from this decision, and neither CPS nor the city as a whole have done anything in the past to indicate a real commitment to Englewood.

One example the report cites is that although the number of teenagers in the neighborhood has declined in the last decade, the district has opened 11 new charter high schools. CPS also has weakened existing high schools through closures, re-districting, insufficient funding and overall neglect of the community.

Chicago Teachers Union