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View Diary: The West Side of Chicago says NO! to school closings (62 comments)

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  •  Yeah, the position that no school (7+ / 0-)

    that ever opens should ever close does not seem a realistic one (nor is it the right thing for students). Some schools should close, and there should be an open debate on which schools should survive and which should be closed. When we see activists claiming that this is reminiscent of slavery ("brought forth, to my mind, heart-wrenching images of our enslaved African-American ancestors pleading for their loved ones not to be beaten, sold at auction, or killed"), we know that passions may be trumping rationality. I don't think that such exhortations are helpful to the cause here.

    •  Desperation (12+ / 0-)

      The Austin neighborhood, where I go to Unitarian church and is a 15 minute walk from my home led the city in murders last summer. Lawndale also has a high homicide rate.

      Unemployment is over the top and many young people feel lost and abandoned. All of the multiple problems of poverty compounded by racism are a reality.

      The schools are viewed as anchors of stability in neighborhoods where city policy is racially motivated destabilization and disinvestment.  It is important to communicate the desperation that some people feel when they see their schools under attack. They take it very personally because that threatens their children.

      As for an open debate about school closings, that is very difficult in Chicago where "transparency" is a cheap joke and City Hall and CPS lie on a regularly scheduled basis.

      This is especially ridiculous when the city is opening new charter schools while it tries to close public schools.

      Elsewhere in the city in predominantly white neighborhoods, predominantly hispanic neighborhoods and in racially mixed communities, meeting halls are packed with people in opposition.

      This is a working class rebellion that in some ways is a follow up to the working class support shown during the Chicago teachers strike.

      The City corporate elite which is behind the closings and the privatization schemes has a tiger by the tail.

      "Don't believe everything you think."

      by BobboSphere on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:34:27 AM PST

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      •  Growing up, the school was the anchor (5+ / 0-)

        of my neighborhood. Everything revolved around it. The parents in the PTA became lifelong friends; their families celebrated holidays together. My parents have long passed, but several of my mother's close friends are still alive in the 90s and I visit them when I am back home in CHicago. These are people I know from elementary school. The school knit the community together.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:18:02 AM PST

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        •  Back when we had communities. (0+ / 0-)

          All the kids in the neighborhood went to school together.  Except the Catholics.  They always went to Catholic school.

          The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

          by helfenburg on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:01:00 AM PST

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      •  the corporations are trying (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mrkvica, figbash

        to enslave our children by controlling what they are allowed to learn.
         Biblical obedience to 'authority'.

        Fear of the Other and a taste for blood.

        In Greece, only free men were allowed to study the LIBERAL Arts- Liber = 'free'.

        Slaves were the engineers, technicians, doctors and service industry workers.

        In antebellum America, teaching a slave to read could get the slave killed.

        Lay that template over GOP actions to control school curriculum and access.  There is nothing new under the sun.

        Jesus died to save you from Yahweh.

        by nolagrl on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:15:35 AM PST

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    •  It's not as simple as declining population (0+ / 0-)

      In CPS, neighborhood kids - especially the white and more privileged ones - are siphoned off to charter, magnet, gifted and classical grade schools.

      (and it's not like its a system that's lots of fun for the privileged families. First the crazy array of tests and hoops to go through. And then families can end up with everybody driving miles, sometimes in opposite directions because not all the kids in the family pass the tests to get into the same schools. Wouldn't it be a lot more efficient in every way to have all these resources in the neighborhood school?)

      There's also the fact that these aren't just schools, and they aren't just a commodity like a loaf of bread that you can move around. They are communities in themselves and they also anchor their communities and provide services, identity, pride. You don't get that when your school is a half-hour drive away. These trends of busing kids all over the place instead of providing great schools with lots of resources in neighborhoods, are toxic to our communities (and environment). And not just in Chicago.

      •  Abelia - privledged kids in Chicago (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        go to private schools.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 10:18:29 PM PST

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        •  I guess it depends on your definition (0+ / 0-)

          of privileged. "Middle class income" is privileged compared to the neighborhoods discussed in this diary.

          But I know many modestly well-to-do families that send kids to CPS schools. (and you'd be lucky to get a private school seat in a school as excellent as Chicago's very best public high schools - take Lane Tech, for example.)

          But in any case the more upwardly-mobile families coming into gentrifying neighborhoods and wanting better school options don't have to be 1%ers to contribute to policies (unintentionally) that are sucking the resources out of plain old neighborhood schools.

      •  That's why the whole charter concept is flawed. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Eventually, after wasting lots of time and money and aggravation, we'll end up where we started because it's what makes sense - local, neighborhood, public schools.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Fri Feb 15, 2013 at 05:00:02 AM PST

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