CHICAGO, Nov. 27, 2019—The Chicago Teachers Union released the following statement regarding Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close Hope High School for the 2020-2021 school year:
So this is how a school—one with more than 40 years of history that includes a state champion girls basketball team, multiple city champion debate teams, a featured role in the video for a single on a Grammy-nominated album and myriad positive impacts on thousands of students and families’ lives—officially ends? With a procedural press release?
School closings are racist and irresponsible. You can change the head of Chicago Public Schools, and you can change who sits on the fifth floor of City Hall—also the head of CPS—but that fact will never change. Newly hired CPS Portfolio Chief Bing Howell is a disciple of the Broad Foundation, an organization that pushes a pro-privatization, pro-charter agenda at the expense of traditional neighborhood schools. Howell was previously an executive with New Schools for Baton Rouge, where he sustained the sordid history of Deep South public school segregation. Following that was a stint at the Washington State Charter School Association, from which he brings a pro-charter privatization agenda to CPS. Howell’s job is to close schools. Hope is just the first.
The fact, however, is that Hope has alleged zero enrollment because CPS has systematically driven the school to zero enrollment. This is a pattern for the last two decades in our district, which starves schools of resources to the point where that neglect serves a justification for school closures. Our union contends that no school should ever be closed in the city of Chicago, which is an action that will not only put student safety and academics at risk, but also further destabilize our neighborhoods.