Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Child mental health experts raise serious concerns about the impact of proposed mass school closings on Chicago students

Today, several notable social workers, counselors, and academic researchers from prominent Illinois and Chicago organizations and universities submitted a set of statements to the members of the Chicago Board of Education detailing their serious concerns about the potential negative impact of school closings on Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students’ social-emotional health.  Tomorrow, the Board of Education is scheduled to consider approving up to 54 school closings and consolidations.

The experts shared their statements at a press conference held at Roosevelt University and sponsored by Parents United for Responsible Education, a Chicago public school parent advocacy organization, along with  CReATE education professors Ann Aviles de Bradley and Diane Horwitz.

Significant concerns raised by these experts include grief and loss, issues of transition, schools as community cornerstones, inclusion of student voice, and lack of adequate mental health services.

Full Press Release Available Here

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CReATE Researchers on Impact of Proposed School Closing

CReATE researchers Josh Radinsky and Federico Waitoller (University of Illinois-Chicago) have prepared a report that details the impacts of the proposed school closings in Chicago in terms of student relocation and faculty dismissal.  These researchers find that CPS statements on this matter greatly underestimate the scale of the impact.

The report on the Impact of Proposed School Closings is available at http://tinyurl.com/d86lzdx.

4/20/2013 Now updated to reflect 2012-2013 Student Data.

Dr. Josh Radinsky josh.radinsky@gmail.com
Dr. Federico Waitoller fwaitoll@uic.edu

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CReATE Researchers Issue Open Letter on School Closures

Education Scholars Agree Chicago School Closures are Ill-Advised and Unsupported by Data

 An Open Letter of Concern to
Mayor Rahm Emanuel,
Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett
and the Chicago School Board

We, the undersigned, call upon the Chicago Board of Education to reject the closing of 54 schools at their May meeting, and instead, to implement reforms that are guided by solid research and by a vision of public education that offers every child the very best that our city has to offer.  We also urge consulting with the professors in CReATE, who bring both scholarly and practical expertise on these issues.

Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE), a network of over 100 professors from numerous Chicago-area universities who specialize in educational research, has reviewed the literature on school closures and conducted an analysis of newly released data to critically assess Chicago Public Schools arguments to justify school closures and to gain a better understanding of what Chicago residents can expect from massive school closures.  The history of previous school closures and school actions reveal that closures negatively impact academic performance and create more hardship for communities already suffering from social abandonment.  Our findings do not support CPS’ arguments for closing schools and we conclude that school closures will contribute to a separate and unequal educational system in Chicago.  

Primary Contact: Prof. Stephanie Farmer, Roosevelt University, sfarmer@roosevelt.edu, 312-341-3746.  Complete list of 107 Chicago-area Education Researchers who signed this letter available at http://tinyurl.com/bn34ncb

UPDATE April 3, 2013 - Education Researchers Nationwide endorse CReATE Open Letter. 
A complete list of the 100 education researchers from across the country who have added their signatures to the CReATE Open Letter is available at http://tinyurl.com/buasg2m.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CReATE Releases Research Brief on School Closures

When a school is closed, the facility is shut down, school staff is displaced, children are sent to other schools, and the community loses a vital resource. If Chicago Public Schools (CPS) follows the city’s Commission on School Utilization March 2013 recommendations, 80 CPS neighborhood schools (13% of the entire system) will be closed, disrupting the lives of nearly 25,000 children. CPS expects that students will need to travel an added 1 to 1½ miles to get to their new schools. Over the years, CPS has mobilized three different types of arguments to justify school closings: underperformance, cost savings, and underutilization. In this new brief CReATE researchers examine each of these arguments in relation to current educational research.

The CReATE Research Brief on School Closures is available for download here in English, and here in Spanish.