After a long and contentious battle, the Chicago Board of Education has voted unanimously to close four schools in the city’s Englewood neighborhood.
Harper, Hope, Robeson, and Team Englewood High Schools will soon close to make way for a new school, but after years of opposition to the idea, community leaders are angry about the decision.
“They’re not about moving children into better schools,” Catherine Hencheck of Parents for Teachers said. “They’re about destabilizing black and brown communities. These closings are a scam.”
Students at the schools will be allowed to remain at three of the four institutions until they graduate, instead of being forced out in the summer of 2018. Robeson will close this summer however, so that work can begin on a new $85 million state-of-the-art school.
Musician Chance the Rapper, who grew up in Englewood, took to social media to blast the decision.
“This mirrors the ineffective and unfair closing of 50+ schools by Rahm Emanuel in 2013,” the rapper tweeted. “Why our kids every time?”
Despite the public outcry, Chicago Public Schools stands by the decision to close the four institutions.
“I’ve also heard from students and families who want something else,” CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson said. “They want to take CPS up on their offer to go to a higher performing school.”
Dr. Jackson said the board still plans to continue to get community input even after the vote to determine the education focus of the new school.