CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Public Schools could be in for another round of closures and consolidations.
A plan presented at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting would close the schools that are considered to be chronically under-performing.
“Over the next couple of months, we’re gonna work to identify our lowest performing schools and create a transition plan for students,” Oliver Sicat, a top executive for CPS, said.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
“Chronically” is not defined in the report, but it says 124,000 students are in schools that are under-performing.
It says there are 283 schools on probation – 72 of them for more than five years. Sixteen schools have been on probation for 15 years.
One board member was skeptical, saying it would scare parents.
Board member Rod Sierra told Sicat that the plan that he presented on behalf of CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard was “stepping on the third rail of politics and community relations when you talk about closing schools or transferring students.”
Reaction from Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis was swift and harsh.
She cut in line during the public comment portion of the meeting, to suggest the school system’s leaders have learned nothing.
She said the past ten years of school reform, including adding charter schools and closing and consolidating other schools, “have proven no improvement across the board. So why would you continue with a failed strategy?”
She said simply lowering class sizes would go a long way toward providing a better education in the Chicago Public Schools.