Reporting Craig Dellimore
CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel seemed unfazed Thursday by a newspaper report showing nine out of ten students attending the Chicago public schools targeted for closure are African Americans.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor acknowledged population changes in Chicago have contributed to the situation in which most of the public schools slated for closing have predominantly black populations.
A school closing commission formed by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett issued a final report on Wednesday, stating CPS has the capacity to close as many as 80 schools, rather than the 129 on Bennett’s preliminary closing list. A Chicago Sun-Times analysis found 88 percent of the students attending the initial list of 129 schools are African-American.
Emanuel said his goal is for the students at those schools to end up at a better place.
“Our Chicago Public Schools and our schools have not been able to give every child – regardless of where they live, regardless of who they are, or regardless of what their circumstance is – a high-quality education,” he said. “We have to make the changes so every kid … regardless of where they live can achieve that.”
He said he doesn’t think it’s an example of discrimination that most schools being targeted for closing at the end of this school year have mostly black populations.
“There has been a big change in the city over the last decade, so what I want to make sure is that we as a city [are] making sure that every child has access to high-quality education,” he said. “We have to make changes to achieve that.”
The mayor did not directly address the possibility of a discrimination lawsuit over school closings.