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Bye bye, education.

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Chicago Public School officials have announced their plan to close 54 schools and shut down 61 school buildings next year. This marks the largest school closures in a single attempt in United States history. 

The closures are a result of a falling enrollment and budget concerns. 

Parents were furious and called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff, for answers and a possible reconsideration. Among the angry crowds was Chicago Teachers Union president, Karen Lewis.

Lewis commented on Mayor Emanuel’s absence during this difficult time. “Our mayor, who is away on a ski trip, drops this information a week before spring break. What’s their spring break going to look like? He should be ashamed of himself.” She continued on by saying the mayor’s absence was “cowardly” and likened them to bullying.

Teachers are not going down without a fight. The closing of Chicago public schools has inspired teachers to stand up against sacrificing education for savings.

Chicago Teacher’s Union Vice President, Jesse Sharkey, told the Huffington Post: “We’re going to do any and all nonviolent forms of protest we have at out disposal including legislative and legal. Also, direct actions like sit-ins to try to stop this disastrous policy.”

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Allegedly, the closing of the 54 schools and the shutting down of 61 schools will save Chicago $500,000 to $800,000 per school. Chicago district officials have reportedly argued that the declining population in predominately black neighborhoods have created an “underutilization crisis,” which results in failing school operations. 

Jeanni Biggs, a parent directly affected by the closings said, “School is their second home. It’s where they feel most comfortable. To lose that sense of belonging and that sense of community must be a traumatic event for a child.”

Biggs has attended three of the volatile community engagement meetings held by the district earlier this year and is frightened that the closing of the schools will force her children into unfamiliar and possibly unsafe territory.

“Parent after parent after parent talked about safety concern,” Biggs continues. “For me that’s my number one concern. How do we keep the kids safe?”  

Perhaps no one noticed the decline in population is a result in an increase of gun violence in the Chicago area. If more children were properly educated, we would have more leaders than gunmen. We hope Chicago can bounce back from the school closings and that no child suffers from limited education

SOURCE: Huffington Post 

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