News

Researchers Call for School Closings Moratorium

June 23, 2014

The Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education (CEJE) at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education has published new research demonstrating the negative impact of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) closures on parents and families in the city.

The Collaborative, an organization producing research that supports engagement and advocacy of school communities toward equity and justice in public schools, interviewed parents from Chicago’s west, south and near west side communities, compiled testimony at public hearings and used publicly available data to determine the effects of closings on children’s academic performance, social and emotional well-being, safety and impact on families and communities, from the perspective of their parents. The report also documents parents’ contributions to their schools and the education they want for their children.

The study, “Root Shock:  Parents’ Perspectives on School Closings in Chicago,” produced five key findings:

-Parents believe school closings had a negative impact on their children, and most believe their new schools are not better.

-Closed schools had deep meanings for children, parents and communities.  Closings were a great loss.

-Parents made many vital contributions to their schools, were proactive and have a holistic vision of education.

-Parents felt excluded from school closing decisions and some feel excluded from new schools.

-Parents distrust CPS, have a critical analysis of the reasons for school closings and want a voice in CPS decisions and the Board of Education.

From these findings, the Collaborative has produced four recommendations for action moving forward:

-There should be a moratorium on school closings, turnarounds, charter school expansion and other disruptive school actions.

-School reform should result in equitable high quality holistic education in all schools.

-Plans for sustainable school transformation should be developed by school-based educators and parents with the assistance of educational experts.

-CPS needs democracy in decision-making, increasing the roles of local school councils and creating an elected school board.

Access the full report and executive summary.

For media inquiries, please contact Pauline Lipman, CEJE director, at plipman@uic.edu or 312-413-4413.