School Closure and Race Infographic: Something fishy going on in Chicago?


As discussed in an earlier post, I travelled last week to Chicago for a panel discussion on Reframing Reform: Achieving Equity and Excellence in Public Education held by The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. As you might expect, the Chicago Public School closures was a prominent part of the conversation. Jitu Brown, a parent and community organizer in Chicago, re-tweeted the following comments from the panel discussion about school closure.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 7.08.56 PM

In March, CI dicussed Rhambo’s approach to school closure in the post Mouth agape: What the data tell us about school closure in Chicago. To further inform the discussion, Sylvia Jauregui, a graduate student in the Educational Policy and Planning program at UT-Austin, designed the following infographic (Also check out the early childhood infographic that was posted last week) based on CReATE’s analyses of public data. Do you notice something fishy? Please Facebook Like, Tweet, etc below to share this infographic with others.

Chicago School Closure Infographic: Is something fishy going on here?

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Categories: African Americans, Charter Schools, School Finance, School Turnaround

Author:Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is currently an Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning and African and African Diaspora Studies (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.

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7 Comments on “School Closure and Race Infographic: Something fishy going on in Chicago?”

  1. Monty J. Thornburg
    April 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    It sounds as though Chicago is now experiencing the New Orleans, effect!

    In New Orleans, Pre-Katrina, where I taught school, too many public schools were designated as city-wide magnet schools: a trend that began in the 60s with desegregation in N.O. Magnet schools were a “well meaning” effort to reduce the incentive for “white flight” to neighboring Jefferson Parish. The ultimate result was that communities lost their historical identities especially when some “Black” schools closed, or lost traditional support, or were consolidated with what had formerly been the white high schools in those same neighborhoods.

    As students over time began to traverse the City neighborhoods and travel distances on city transit, students began to form “gangs” out of self protection. The city transit system and certain centralized transfer stations became war zones between groups of students from various neighborhoods as they crossed paths. Community identities and parental support was replaced by “law enforcement” and Zero Tolerance policies. One result was the establishment of a school-system wide police force- another huge cost.

    This effect may explain some of the up tic in violence when so many schools close in Chicago? Schools can serve and have long served to provide cultural and community purposes far beyond competing well on meaningless high stakes tests. Tests imposed by NCLB “experts” with an agenda to further dismantle public education- my opinion.

    Since Katrina, New Orleans has become a prominent place for Charter Schools and many, if not most are the previous “magnet – tier level schools – of the past. See: Devine, J. (1996) “Maximum security: The culture of violence in inner-city schools.” to understand the tier level effect of closing schools and creating “tiers” of schools where charters and magnets are seen as the good schools and neighborhood schools become the last “choice” for those who are unable to work the system.

    You would think that a city Mayor would have some sensitivity to the facts above.

  2. posh
    April 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    Our heavily hispanic, low SED school was closed to make way for a French Immersion Charter school. Chicago is not the only place this is happening. Our schools have become resegregated.

    • Monty J. Thornburg
      April 22, 2013 at 9:27 am #

      Posh: Yes, you are absolutely correct. A Harvard Study, (2003) “Charter Schools and Race: A lost opportunity for Integrated Education” points out how systemic the problem is. See: Ithaca College (2012). Charter schools, Education Vouchers, and School Choice. (websites)

  3. April 22, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Monty, thank you for the information on the studies and the links. I see some reading in my future! Posh, I’m sorry to hear that. I agree with you.


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