Over the last year, people have asked the question, “How do you fix what’s going on in Chicago?”. I’m convinced the people who run Chicago don’t want to fix the problem. When you take away access to simple necessities such as education and jobs, you end up with a city that lives and breathes violence.
Welcome to Chicago.
Yesterday, Chicago school officials announced that they planned to close 61 school buildings. That’s about 13 percent of the total number of schools in Chicago. Also, 6 other schools that have been labeled “low performing” will receive a total staff makeover.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the closures are necessary because too many Chicago Public School buildings are half-empty, with 403,000 students in a system that has seats for more than 500,000. Where most schools in major cities suffer from overcrowding, and a high student to teacher ratio, it seems that Chicago refuses to make the best out of a lack of crowding, in a way that could benefit their students.
Parents in the city feel that the school closures will put students in harms way, because of the redistricting that will potentially have them in the cross-fire of more gang violence.
One concerned grandparent expressed outrage at the closure of Overton Elementary School. Her children once attended the school, and now her grandchildren.
“It’s like a death in the family. It’s that sad,” she said. “Overton is a family school. These teachers are like aunties and uncles to my grandkids. We all take care of each other. We’ll never get that again.”
School officials say the closings are necessary because of the $1 billion deficit, and the cutbacks would save $560 million. At the same time, these closures will actually add an extra $233 million expense because of the enhanced security and the costs of redistricting students. The school closures will start at the end of the current school year, with 52 elementary schools closing, and another elementary school and high school over the next two years, in addition to 11 “co-locations”.