Report: 81% displaced students get moved to same, worse schools - FOX 32 News Chicago

Report: 81% displaced students moved to schools just as bad, worse

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Wednesday's demonstration in the Loop protested the proposed closings--which will be the largest one-time school closing ever--but CPS has already closed dozens of campuses since the year 2000.

FOX 32 Political Editor Mike Flannery talked to several leading experts who say CPS, more often than not, has failed to deliver on its promises.

SEE: Emanuel: CPS closures will lead to students who can compete for good jobs

This report, done by researchers at the University of Chicago, documents promises made--but all too often--not kept. From 2000 to 2006, when CPS closed 38 schools, displaced students who moved to a top performing school did dramatically better on standardized tests, but only 6% of students got into good schools. Most, simply moved to another under performing school and lost ground.

The University of Chicago's Timothy Knowles has devoted his career to finding ways to improving public education in Chicago. He believes Chicago has no realistic alternative but to close dozens of crumbling, underused school buildings.

"This is the right thing to do from a financial perspective," Knowles says. "The difficult thing is that individual kids, individual families and individual teachers are being disrupted."

Having studied previous school closings--there were 38 from the year 2000 to 2006--Knowles and his colleagues found reason to be skeptical of City Hall's assurances. Then, as now, the Board of Education promised that displaced students would move to better schools, but researchers found that fully 81% moved to schools did just as bad, or even worse, academically. The good news: that lucky 19% that moved to better schools did better by several measures, and a super lucky 6% who moved to top-ranked schools did dramatically better. Mayor Emanuel knows those findings.

"Every child will go to a school with air conditioning, a library, technology, and have some better results," Emanuel said Wednesday.

"Whether it's going to be good for the kids' education, we don't know," says Catalyst Chicago Magazine education watchdog Linda Lenz. "Their plan on paper certainly looks good. And if they can follow through and get the logistics done, put the money into the social programs, maybe they will change the course of history. But to this date that hasn't happened."

One major change from past practice is the $233 million the mayor said would be spent to upgrade the "receiving" schools by August 25. It also means this effort won't create any net savings for several years.

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