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A Tale of Two Schools: Conclusion and Appendix

Conclusion: Lessons to Learn and Policies to Eliminate

CPS has dangerously under-resourced schools in poor, African-American communities. Unlike many North Side schools with wealthy families who can pressure politicians and provide schools with money for additional supplies, schools in poor neighborhoods rely on CPS to provide them with the necessary resources to educate the whole child. Rather than stepping up to help struggling schools, CPS has decided to give up, shuttering the schools and removing yet another resource from already-disadvantaged communities. CPS must stop this destructive policy and start supplying schools with the resources that teachers need to educate their students. It is not schools that are failing students; it is CPS’s failure to invest in schools—schools like Beidler and Guggenheim—that truly harms our children.

CPS should have learned an important lesson at Guggenheim. During the disastrous transition, students were told once again that their school was failing and that they would have to find a new second home. The students became increasingly agitated and demoralized, leading to fights and violence as the school year wound down. CPS thought that it only needed to devote two paragraphs of its 10-page transition plan to Guggenheim’s large homeless population. Outof-touch Central Office bureaucrats thought two open houses would integrate homeless students into their new school. Guggenheim’s principal promptly devised a plan to transfer the school’s homeless students to another school, even before holding community hearings on the closing. When CPS Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS) case managers were making progress arranging necessary transitional supports for the school’s homeless population, CPS erased all its gains by replacing most of the STLS staff over the summer, firing the people who had personal connections with Guggenheim’s homeless students. Because of this “restructuring,” CPS lost contact with more than half of these families. It took CPS until February 2013, six months after the start of the new school year, to even find out where former Guggenheim students were now enrolled. (And CPS only did this investigation after being pressured by the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force.) Only 37 percent of Guggenheim’s non-graduating student body actually went to the designated receiving school, Bond Elementary. Nineteen percent dropped out, left the district or have not been accounted for by CPS.

CPS now proposes to close an astonishing 54 schools in 2013, the most at one time in American history. The Chicago Board of Education will not vote on these school actions until at least late May; CPS expects parents to go into the last month of school without even knowing where they will send their children next August. Despite the resounding failures at Guggenheim in 2012, CPS believes that it can responsibly close 54 schools and prepare students for the transition with only one month left in the school year. Last year, CPS had four months to execute the closure of four schools but still had serious problems handling the transition of the affected students. CPS now wants to close 50 more schools in a fourth of the time. There is simply no precedent—and mountains of evidence to the contrary—proving that CPS can do what CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has requested. The volume of school actions proposed by Byrd-Bennett is reckless and irresponsible.1

And even if CPS could handle the mass closings, shuttering neighborhood schools is still a faulty policy. Closing schools creates chaos for inner-city children already struggling to attain stability in their lives. Children switching schools are forced to make new friends, find new adult mentors, learn a new curriculum and adapt to a new school culture. Research shows that all of this change has a profound and negative impact on students. Children moving schools lose up to a year of academic time. Closing schools takes an important resource away from a community, accelerating disinvestment in already downtrodden neighborhoods. By closing neighborhood schools, CPS gives families less of a reason to remain in the community, which, in turn, gives businesses and government less incentive to invest time and resources. CPS is establishing a vicious cycle of disinvestment and population flight that severely hinders African-American communities. The district must recognize the permanent damage it is inflicting and eliminate these destructive policies.

Appendices

Appendix A: Guggenheim mobility rates trumped both the network and district averages

From 2000 to 2012, Guggenheim had a higher mobility rate than the district average each year and a higher rate than the schools in the current Englewood-Gresham Elementary Network in all but two years. In 2012, Guggenheim’s mobility rate was three times higher than the district average, yet no extra resources were provided to Guggenheim to ameliorate the impact of this high mobility. (Source: CPS Mobility Rates)

  Guggenheim Network Average2 District Average
2012 53.9% 33.2% 18.3%
2011 28.4% 28.5% 17.9%
2010 40.0% 32.2% 18.7%
2009 34.4% 32.9% 18.8%
2008 47.4% 42.5% 23.3%
2007 49.0% 38.4% 22.4%
2006 43.0% 36.3% 26.8%
2005 35.8% 34.6% 24.0%
2004 39.9% 37.9% 24.4%
2003 44.3% 35.2% 24.5%
2002 33.2% 34.7% 24.8%
2001 46.6% 33.2% 25.2%
2000 36.9% 34.2% 26.6%

Appendix B: Guggenheim’s ISAT performance was on par with other schools in Area 14

Opponents of the 2010 closure argued that in 2008 and 2009, Guggenheim ranked fifth in Area 14 (a predecessor to the Englewood-Gresham Elementary Network) in the percentage of students who met or exceeded state standards on the ISAT. Guggenheim ranked eighth in ISAT composite and seventh in ISAT science in 2008. Guggenheim’s lowest subject in 2008 was math, where the school ranked 15th in the network, but this score was still within 1 percent of the Area’s median score. While scores dipped slightly in 2009, Guggenheim was still no worse than 15th—this time in science—and the school was still within 2 percent of the Area’s median. The analysis excludes magnet schools and regional gifted centers. (Source: CPS School Data)

2009
Guggenheim Score
Area Rank (24 total)3 2008
Guggenheim Score
Area Rank (25 total)4
ISAT Composite Meets/Exceeds 51.8% 14 52.2% 8
ISAT Reading Meets/Exceeds 55.8% 5 57.7% 5
ISAT Math Meets/Exceeds 52.2% 14 48.0% 15
ISAT Science Meets/Exceeds 40.6% 15 47.8% 7

Appendix C: Guggenheim’s 2010 Action Plan

Insert Photo 5: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo5.png
(Alt Description: Guggenheim’s action plan of what is working and what work is currently in progress)

Insert Photo 6: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo6.png
(Alt Description: Guggenheim’s action plan for future plans.)

Insert Photo 7: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo7.png
(Alt Description: Guggenheim’s action plan overview. Specifically parent involvement.)

Insert Photo 8: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo8.png
(Alt Description: Guggenheim’s action plan overview. Specifically parent involvement part 2.)

Appendix D: Guggenheim was consistently overcrowded

For each year until 2008, Guggenheim enrolled more students than its CPS-determined capacity. Guggenheim’s enrollment never dipped below 80 percent, CPS’s current benchmark for “underutilized” schools. CPS considers 100 percent to be “ideal.” 80 to 120 percent is “efficient,” and 121 percent and above is “overcrowded.” CPS’s utilization uses a class size of 30. (Source: 20th Day Enrollment Figures)

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Enrollment 430 462 431 401 415 383 386 330 296 263 259 291
% Capacity (CPS ideal capacity=300) 143% 154% 144% 134% 138% 128% 129% 110% 99% 88% 86% 97%

Appendix E: Even on CPS-supported metrics, Bond was not a significantly better school than Guggenheim

Bond has been on probation each year since 2007 and had similar ISAT scores to Guggenheim. After dips in 2012 ISAT scores, Bond dropped from a Level 2 school to a Level 3. The 2011 ISAT period was Principal Stokes and Assistant Principal Hubbird’s first year and also when three teaching positions were left unfilled for months. This greatly affected ISAT scores at Guggenheim. (Source: CPS Performance Policy Results and Probation Status)

ISAT Composite Meets/Exceeds: Guggenheim and Bond

2011 2010 2009 2008
Guggenheim 40.0% 55.6% 51.8% 52.2%
Bond 64.2% 57.3% 51.8% 47.5%

Appendix F: Email from CPS STLS Coordinator to Principal Robert Hubbird

After complaints that Hubbird was not honoring the legal rights of homeless students, CPS STLS coordinator emailed this information to Principal Robert Hubbird.

Insert Photo 9: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo9.png
(Alt Description: Email to Principal Hubbird in regards to STLS students rights. Email sent on Monday, March 19th, 2012.)

Appendix G: Attempted transfer of Guggenheim’s homeless students

Appendix G includes an email to the CPS Students in Temporary Living Situations program regarding correspondence with parents claiming they were asked to provide proof of address. The homeless parents also said that they were told they must transfer to a different school. This Appendix also includes written testimony from parents who received phone calls from Principal Robert Hubbird and office staff informing the families that they should transfer their students from Guggenheim. These are not the only letters from parents; Guggenheim staff provided CTU with approximately 10 testimonials. Names and contact information have been removed.

Insert Photo 10: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo10.png
(Alt Description: Email about STLS students being told to transfer out from Guggenheim. Email sent on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011.)

Insert Photo 11: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo11.png
(Alt Description: Note from an STLS parent stating staff from Guggenheim dropped off transfer paperwork for her children and was told that Guggenheim was closing over Christmas break.)

Insert Photo 12: TaleofTwoSchools_Photo12.png
(Alt Description: Note from an STLS parent stating Principal Hubbird from Guggenheim called her and told her it would be best if she transferred her son to a school that is near them. Mr. Hubbird came to the individuals home and dropped off the transfer paperwork over Christmas break. The parent didn’t agree to it.)