Chicago Public Schools Board voted unanimously to discontinue four Englewood High Schools. These schools are in one of Chicago’s most depleted and high crime areas that have also experienced declining enrollment. The closures point CPS shutting down a number of schools in recent years.
In 2013, CPS made history when it closed approximately 50 schools in mostly Black and Latino neighborhoods. This affected more than 12,000 students. Now Chicago has additional plans for more closures in the school district.
School officials state that shuttering schools will help build a new $85 million school, which will reverse low enrollment and improve educational opportunities. Proponents for the new school presume that a state-of-the-art school will complement the neighborhood’s new community health center, outdoor sports facility and a Whole Foods 365. However, parents, students and other opponents of the new school disagree.
Critics argue that Chicago still has not addressed long-standing problems behind the decline of the school district. For some time, CPS has been a cash-strapped district that defunded many programs. Last year, the Chicago School Board sued the state of Illinois for funding that they called, “separate and unequal,” claiming that schools with Black and Latino students received lesser monies. Added to the list of woes is a high teacher turnover rate and a decline in hires.
Since 2009, about a quarter of teachers leave a significant number of schools annually. Additionally, teachers in areas affected by rampant gun violence, must help students deal with loss and trauma.