Career Calling

May 16, 2013

Teachers’ Jobs and Kids’ Futures

A group of parents in Chicago have filed a suit to stop Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close 54 schools.  The suit argues that students in special education programs will be negatively affected in a way that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

In reporting on the suit, The Chicago Sun-Times quotes CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennet, who said: “We have a shared responsibility to do everything we can to ensure a bright future for every child.”  These words sound wonderful.  However, they contradict the action being taken by CPS.

I live near Trumbull School, which is being closed because of alleged “underutilization.”  The school’s problem is that it hosts several special education classes, which are capped at 14 students per class, half the expected number of a general education class. Several experts have said that the school is not underutilized if adjustments are made for special education classes

More importantly, CEO Byrd-Bennett claims that she wants a “bright future for every child.”  If this is the case, why not bring students from neighboring schools (Chappell, McPherson) to Trumbull, which would lower class sizes at three schools, rather than packing classrooms at two schools?  It’s no secret that students learn better in smaller classrooms.  Empty seats at Trumbull would seem to give CPS a chance to give more students a chance to realize “a bright future.” Why close such a resource?

The only logical reason seems to that CPS wants to shed jobs. Is that what is best for the students and their future?  I don’t think so.  If the city can find money to build a new arena for DePaul near McCormick Place, it should be able to find money to keep schools like Trumbull open.  Do what is best for students.  Invest in schools and teachers.

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