During the reign of Chicago’s Favorite Son, the Windy City’s population dropped from 2.83 million to 2.7 million. Chicago is deep in debt and with charter schools rising, those families who can are escaping either the city or its broken educational system.
This isn’t going over well at the Marxist Chicago Teachers’ Union and its insane boss, but it’s hard to demand higher salaries “for the kids” when the kids are going elsewhere.
So Obama’s own godfather is trying to kill the beast with another approach by closing a whole bunch of useless underpopulated schools.
School officials here said Thursday they plan to close 53 elementary schools and one high school, one of the largest mass school closings in the nation’s history, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel seeks to fill a gaping budget hole.
The move to close about 11% of the 472 elementary schools in the nation’s third-largest school district this fall sparked anger from the teachers union, some elected aldermen, parents and neighborhood groups who vowed to fight the move.
District officials said enrollment declines and students shifting to charter schools—public schools run by independent groups—have left 100,000 extra classroom seats in the city. The figures are based on the district’s ideal class size of 30 students; currently, most schools have between 24 and 28 students in each classroom, according to district documents.
Charter school students make up over 50,000 of Chicago’s 400,000 students. So it’s not surprising that the teachers’ unions are flying into a frenzy. They can see the writing on the wall.
Karen Lewis, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, said Mr. Emanuel is sending the district into “utter chaos,” and that closings are unnecessary, won’t save money and would expose students to academic and safety concerns. The “school-closing policies put our students at real, not imagined, risk,” she said.
Yes, at risk of escaping the greedy maw of Karen Lewis, Chicago’s own Jabba the Hut.
Philadelphia announced earlier this month plans to close 23 schools. Kansas City shut 40% of its 64 campuses in 2010, and Detroit closed about 14% of its schools in 2006. But several experts said Chicago’s announcement might represent the largest number of schools closed at once. All told, the district will close 54 programs located in 61 school buildings.