Last year, nearly 50 district run schools were closed due to a number of evolving problems in the educational system. According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, primarily there were two leading problems which led to the shutdown of schools in the South and West side of Chicago:
- They had too few students and most of the schools faced under-enrollment.
- The schools were too overcrowded in some areas.
Noting these problems, the district decided to shut down a number of schools and cut down on educational budgets.
Chicago Schools support the growth and incorporation of new charter schools to fix the educational system. Charter schools are considered to provide a flexible range of diverse learning environments which will also provide parents with more choices regarding their children’s education plans.
On Wednesday, 22nd January, in a Chicago Public Schools Board meeting, only 7 out the 17 proposals for charter schools were approved. 5 out of these schools, along with 10 charter schools previously approved are scheduled to commence this fall. 3 out of these soon-to-open charter schools are supposed to be in communities, which have been facing overcrowded schooling problems.
Parents And Teachers Protest
Although approving and commencing charter schools might be a great idea to uplift the Chicago educational system, it has met criticism by parents and teachers. The recent approvals further fueled their rage as they demanded explanations how the district could all of a sudden shut down almost 50 schools and then approve new charter schools, while it had cut down the educational budgets by tens of millions of dollars.
In the protests outside CPS, Rubi Bautista, a parent living in the Northwest side complained, ”CPS has said over and over that they are out of money and that’s why they continue to cut our budgets. But when it comes to providing funding for charter schools, they continue to hand over the money they are taking from our schools!” A large number of protestors said that as CPS said there are no overcrowding problems like CPS said and instead of putting large amounts of money in to charter schools, CPS should consider putting money in the schools already present.
Adding to all these problems, in a financial analysis, launched by the Communities United for Quality Education, the recent approval of charter schools and CPS’s plan to open up new 60 new charter schools by the year 2017 could cost city tax payer at least $225 million. Man groups argue that Chicago Schools has been less transparent about the new schools and the added expenses.Sources: