With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Did school closings contribute to Chicago violence?

Duncan said no, but...
Last week, Mayor Daley appeared to rule out a change in attendance boundaries. "The day that the city of Chicago decides to divide schools by gang territory, that's the day we have given up the city," Daley said. (Sun-Times)
When Arne Duncan came to Chicago last week, he echoed Daley's statement and denied, over and over again, that his Renaissance 2010 school closing policies contributed in any way to recent incidents of school violence. He even got angry when a Catalyst reporter dared to bring it up regarding the closing of Carver High, turning it into a selective enrollment military academy, and shipping kids across gang territories to an under-resourced Fenger High.

But on Thursday, CEO Ron Huberman, under pressure from angry parents, Jesse Jackson and other community leaders, reversed his own policy and promised to open up Carver to some of those Fenger students previously excluded. This, would appear to contradict Duncan's emphatic denials and serve as an admission that the original policy was flawed.


  1. At the end of the day, they did nothing to change the conditions that give rise to school violence. Instead, they will open another charter school run by a private company in the Carver neighborhood. Their goal throughout the city, is to create two classes of schools. One is for the middle-class. The other is for the the lowest income families. This is what they call "reform" in Chicago.

  2. Mike,

    I think it's clear that closing schools, turning them around and firing staff, all serve to destabilize neighborhoods. Anyone who knows anything about education knows that a stable staff (one that includes young and old, new and veteran teachers) creates a learning environment more conducive to a sense of community and learning.

    There is no question that simply closing schools and firing staff helps create an unstable environment. From instability comes the potential for chaos.

    Thanks for noting this in your post.

    Jay Rehak


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.