As anyone who has ever attended a Chicago Public Schools board meeting knows, there is no shortage of news or opinions on the Chicago schools beat.
Since I first began covering the city's public schools in October 2010, the district has gone through three school chiefs -- and is now on its fourth. We’re in a new year, and CPS once again is knee-deep in another tussle that is bound to consume many Chicago residents, especially parents, teachers and students: The district’s plan to close an unknown number of schools because of under-enrollment and a looming $1 billion deficit.
This week, the Tribune broke the news that the commission on school closings doesn’t think the district can handle closing a large number of schools. And Mayor Rahm Emanuel and district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced plans to use the old Jones College Prep building to add more selective enrollment seats. Education policy sparks passions on any given issue.
Soon after Emanuel took office, debate began over his push for a longer school day. Last year, teachers represented by the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike for seven days, putting a national spotlight on Chicago and its schools. This year, Emanuel will be dealing with the fallout from school closings.
The city has yet to disclose which schools it will target, but as the nation’s third largest system undergoes gut-wrenching changes in the year ahead, I’ll be trying to keep a close eye on what’s at stake for taxpayers, parents and educators in the city.
We're always looking for new insights, too. If you have a tip, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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