The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

South Side School Closings in Chicago

Dec 11, 2017

On November 30, Chicago Public Schools announced it intends to close all four neighborhood high schools in Englewood, a poor and working class black neighborhood on the city’s South Side.

The school board says these schools don’t have enough students – true enough. Each one has fewer than 200. But the city’s own policies drove the students out.

There are still 3,000 high school students in the neighborhood – but they have been driven into charter schools. In fact, two of the high schools slated to close already have charters operating – in the same building! Now the privately-run charter schools will be able to take over the whole buildings.

These charters focus on discipline. And they are famous for expelling students for any little thing. They are designed to train the “best” students to be good workers for the bosses – but not to serve ALL students.

Students were also pushed to choose the charters because the neighborhood schools were attacked. One of them, Harper High, was “reconstituted” in 1999, then “turned around” in 2008, which means all the teachers and support staff were fired. Englewood High School was closed in 2007, then reopened as a “small” school. Is it any wonder many students left these schools?

Attacking the neighborhood high schools has meant attacking the neighborhood itself. As recently as 2000, Englewood had over 40,000 people. Now it’s down to around 25,000. Most people left because jobs disappeared. But destroying the public schools helped.

Now CPS is going to build a new 85 million dollar high school on the grounds of one of the closed schools. But this school will be a “selective enrollment school” – meaning you have to do well on a test to get in.

These policies are all aimed at driving poor and working people out of their neighborhood, not at educating their children.