Despite the protests of hundreds of parents and students, the Chicago board of education has voted to close, consolidate, or phase out 18 schools.
Eight, on the city’s South and West sides, were chosen because of low performance. They will be “turned around,” with new principals and new teaching staffs.
Ten of the schools, all elementaries, were targeted because they are underenrolled. Some will close at the end of the school year. Others will be closed gradually or merged.
Some of the schools are slated to be run by the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a teacher-training and school-management program. (“District Leaders to Clean House at 8 Chicago Schools,” Feb. 13, 2008.)
The board did not heed the urgings of the Chicago Teachers Union to postpone its decision to overhaul the 18 schools. The union wanted to use its “Fresh Start” school improvement model, already in use at eight schools, in some of them.
The unanimous school board vote on Feb. 27 was part of Chicago’s ongoing Renaissance 2010 initiative, designed to replace low-performing or underenrolled schools with 100 new, small campuses.
A version of this article appeared in the March 05, 2008 edition of Education Week