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Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:48pm
Tue Apr 23, 2013

Parkman Elementary Students Would Be Forced To Cross Gang Lines If School Closes, Parents Say (VIDEO)

More than 200 students enrolled at Fuller Park's Francis Parkman Elementary School will be asked to travel six blocks and cross East Garfield Blvd. to attend their welcoming school, Englewood's Jesse Sherwood Elementary School, if the Chicago Board of Education approves a proposal by the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

East Garfield Blvd., according to attendees of Friday’s public forum on the school action, serves as the dividing line between two South Side neighborhoods and gang territories.

“The children are being asked to cross an invisible barrier,” said Carla Smith, 48, a lifelong Chicagoan and 2nd grade teacher of three years at Parkman Elementary.

Smith, one of approximately 75 people who attended the hearing, pleaded with the hearing's mediator to listen to the voice of the community.

“I’m scared for the kids; they can’t cross that line.”

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
1:03pm
Tue Apr 23, 2013

Call For Legislative Help In Fighting CPS School Closures Rings Loud At Congressional Forum (VIDEO)

The proposal to close 54 schools across the Chicago Public Schools system is unsafe and will destabilize communities already hit hard by the economic depression, according to speakers at a Congressional Forum hosted by U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush (D, IL-1) and Danny Davis (D, IL-7) over the weekend.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:39pm
Wed Apr 17, 2013

Concerns Over Overcrowding, Jobs & Special Education Resonate At CPS Public Hearing On Courtenay, Stockton Schools (VIDEO)

Residents of Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods of Ravenswood and Uptown got their final opportunity Wednesday night to voice concerns over the impending merger of two elementary schools.

"Is the power really with the people or is it with the administration," asked Tonya Hunter, a concerned citizen of Ravenswood, at yesterday's meeting. "Are we wasting our time? Is the train already in motion and running, because if it is, do we have any data that school closings benefit children overall?"

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:21pm
Wed Apr 17, 2013

West Pullman Parents, Students Voice Safety & Gang Violence Concerns At School Closing Hearing

Parents and advocates in support of keeping West Pullman Elementary open called out Chicago Public Schools officials at a public hearing last night, asking if they've ever set foot in their school or its surrounding neighborhoods.

“Have you been there,” asked Susan Garza, a South Side resident and CPS counselor, after district representatives presented their case to the hearing officer. "Have you been to West Pullman? Because your portfolio is really impressive, but you haven't been there.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:18pm
Tue Apr 16, 2013

CTU Report Examines Culture Of Fear, Disinvestment Among Schools Targeted For Closure

Chicago Public Schools plans to close 54 schools in June, but a new Chicago Teachers Union study raises questions about whether the district has the capacity to close that many in such a short time, given its issues with closing at least one of four schools last year.

Once Englewood’s Simon Guggenheim Elementary closed last year, only 37 percent of its non-graduating students enrolled at the designated receiving school, Carrie Jacobs Bond Elementary, according to CTU’s “A Tale of Two Schools” study.

Also, CPS has yet to account for 23 former Guggenheim students, the study added.

“To lose any student, let alone that many ... it’s just dangerous, and it just baffles me how CPS thinks that this is a good plan, when for the past 10 years or so, when these school closings started, they’ve never been able to get it right, because it’s not right,” said Action Now Executive Director Katelyn Johnson.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:48am
Tue Apr 16, 2013

West Siders Hold Nearby Charters Responsible For Emmet Elementary's Shrinking Enrollment

Emmet Elementary School’s utilization rate is 66 percent, higher than a handful of other Austin neighborhood schools.

Even still, the Chicago Public Schools wants to close it at the end of the year, and that decision continues to puzzle some West Side community members and parents who spoke out against the action before Emmet’s final community meeting last night.

“Unfortunately we have an administration with this corporate ideology of privatizing education that uses our data to punish schools rather than use them as tools to go ahead and improve our children’s education,” said Dwayne Truss with the Austin Community Action Council. “And that’s wrong.”

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