Behind sale of closed schools, a legacy of segregation

(Photo by Max Herman) Key Elementary School, located in the predominantly black Austin neighborhood, has stood empty since 2013 when it became one of 50 under-enrolled Chicago public schools shuttered to save money.

(Photo by Max Herman)
Key Elementary School, located in the predominantly black Austin neighborhood, has stood empty since 2013 when it became one of 50 under-enrolled Chicago public schools shuttered to save money.

A report on school closures by Great Cities Institute Research Fellow and Professor of Urban Planning and Policy, Rachel Weber and fellow authors, Stephanie Farmer, Associate Professor, Sociology Department, Roosevelt University and Mary Donoghue, ULI-Trkla Scholar at the Great Cities Institute was highlighted in an article from The Chicago Reporter

The school closure issue, like so many issues in Chicago, is rooted in racial segregation and its consequences. A new study released by the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago that looked at school closures and turnarounds between 2000 and 2013 found that race, not simply enrollment or academic performance, was a recurring factor. Schools that were predominantly black and located within six miles of the city’s center, where there is more redevelopment potential, were more likely to be turned around or closed.

Although the school district chose “race-neutral” metrics to justify the restructurings, the report argues that they interacted with “institutionalized racial inequities” and had outcomes that disproportionately affected black students.

The report states: “Legacies of racism—from the broader interactive effects between de jure and de facto residential segregation and labor market discrimination to prior CPS plans and practices like the fact that the district often built new schools rather than redraw boundaries that would put black and white students in the same schools—shape contemporary capital investment policies in Chicago.”

Full Story from The Chicago Reporter »

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