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Chicago Education Jobs at Risk if Schools Reorganize

Posted on February 18, 2009

While the Chicago school system is looking to restructure in hopes to save money, one group feels it’s not worth the cost to students or those with Chicago education jobs.

Two recent studies state that the Chicago Public Schools plan to close and reorganize schools has not led to improvements and has only focused on poor neighborhoods undergoing gentrification. The report was completed by the Grassroots Education Movement, a coalition of community, parent and teacher groups.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Public Schools plans to close and reorganize 22 schools under the district’s Renaissance 2010 initiative. The initiative, which began in 2004, calls for the creation of 100 new schools in Chicago to be put under the control of private groups. Of the schools to be closed, 16 have underenrollment. Staff members at six of those schools will have to reapply for education jobs.

In the first study, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago found students affected by school closings during the last two years have been mostly Latino and African-American.

“The study found that while housing prices in many of these neighborhoods boomed, many economically disadvantaged families were priced out,” the article notes. “The study also found this push-out may have led to decreased enrollment at Peabody and Carpenter Elementary Schools in the West Town communities.”

In the second study, researchers found there was little difference between ACT test scores in charter high schools and neighborhood high schools from 2006 to 2008. The report found charter high schools enrolled fewer low-income students, nearly half as many limited English speakers and “significantly fewer” students with special needs.