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CTU statement on CPS plans to close Englewood high schools

CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union today issued the following statement regarding Chicago Public Schools plans to close Harper, Hope, Robeson and TEAM Englewood high schools and funnel students into a new, $75 million high school in the Englewood community.

“The Chicago Teachers Union supports well-resourced school communities that help our students pursue their dreams and open doors, but we know far too well that school closings can lead to feelings of abandonment and a loss of learning. The teachers and staff at Harper, Hope, Robeson and TEAM Englewood not only provide stability in their students’ lives, but also create classroom spaces where students can connect with one another, process their experiences and help make decisions about their communities.

“With unemployment at Great Depression-era levels in Englewood, a forced mass exodus of African-American families out of Chicago, violence epidemic and affordable housing shortage, school closings are another way for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to sabotage the community at its time of greatest need. Consolidating four high schools into one building is the mayor doubling down on a disastrous and irresponsible gentrification scheme that has already removed scores of African-American residents from the city.

“Many of the teachers and staff at these schools are African-American women who have already experienced consolidations and closures at schools such as South Shore and Calumet high schools. Getting rid of these educators, who anchor a destabilized community through their knowledge and economic support, will exacerbate the mayor’s already heinous neglect.

“Instead of closing schools, we should be fortifying them. Instead of pushing families out of the community through the acceleration of high-end developments, we need to provide housing near our schools, a public sector jobs program and a robust array of services and supports inside of our school buildings to address the needs of our communities.”

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The Chicago Teachers Union represents nearly 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctunet.com.

Chicago Teachers Union