“Our guarantee is that no child will go to a school that is lesser performing than the school that they’re in,” Byrd-Bennett explains, adding that for many years students have been “trapped in under-utilized and under-resourced schools.”The S-T editorial board goes from classroom to classroom at supposedly "half-empty" Garvey Elementary and finds every one of them in use.
In fact, during a visit on Monday to the school, where colorful and neatly displayed student projects and artwork line bright yellow walls, we didn’t see a single room going unused. Garvey has air-conditioned classrooms, a well-stocked library, a garden, an art room, a computer lab, several small science labs and the kind of discipline and order in the classroom and hallway that tell a visitor this school has its act together.
|“They’re taking kids from a calm, family environment and putting them in a stressed one,” says Garvey parent, Krista Thomas. “This is not a wasteland.” (Kate N. Grossman photo)|
But listen to what the touring S-T editorial board members have to say:
On our visit, children sure didn’t look “trapped,” as the mayor and the schools chief like to say about students in under-enrolled schools. We didn’t see much flab, either. On a tour of the small building with a parent — the principal wasn’t involved — we saw an intimate school making good use of its space. Parents at many other schools, including Trumbull and Courtenay, also are making good cases for their schools.
All this makes you wonder how much of underutilization is a myth and how much is real? What's really behind Rahm's closing of 54 schools, nearly all in the black community? Is Rahm presiding over the continued whitenizing of Chicago? More to come on this.