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Keep going, Chicago bd of ed members

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Knocking off four of the 54 schools on CPS' closing list is a sign of progress.

But it's only a start.

It's now up to the Chicago Board of Education's six members -- who vote Wednesday on the remaining 50 closures -- to keep whittling down that list.

Late Tuesday, a source told the Sun-Times that Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is dropping four elementary schools from her closure list: Garvey in Washington Heights, Manierre in Old Town, Ericson in East Garfield Park and M. Jackson in Auburn Gresham. She also decided to delay for one year the closure of Canter Middle School in Kenwood and against subjecting Barton School in Auburn Gresham to a reform measure called a turnaround.

The Sun-Times editorial page had highlighted all four of the spared schools, including lengthy editorials on Manierre and Garvey. Those reprieves are well-deserved and encouraging.

But more schools are worth saving.

We published a list on Tuesday of at least 21 schools that should be saved. And, after learning more Tuesday, we feel compelled to urge the board to consider sparing one more: Goodlow School in Englewood.

The parent group Raise Your Hand has made a strong case to stop that closure: shuttering Goodlow and consolidating it with Earle in Englewood presents a triple negative whammy for kids: the merged school is likely to be over-crowded, students will face unsafe conditions as they walk a longer distance to school and it's a move that shifts kids from one low-performing school to another.

Our list of 21 was based on interviews, school visits, feedback from advocacy groups and reports on each school drafted by retired judges who were hired by CPS as independent hearing officials.

The judges opposed 11 closings, recommended against closing two others and raised serious concerns about another 10 closings. One judge also opposed locating another school at Bowen High.

Final decisions on the remaining 50 schools on the closing list are now in the hands of the six board of education members. It's their turn to show they've done their homework.

If they've been listening to parents, advocates and educators, they'll vote to save at least 18 more schools.

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This page contains a single entry by Kate Grossman published on May 21, 2013 4:23 PM.

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