March 25, 2013 8:17 pm

NPE Action Alert: Chicago School Closings Demand a Response

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ChicagomapDear Friends and Allies,

Chicago has announced plans to close 53 schools. Philadelphia will close 23. New York City has 22 on the hit list. Atlanta is planning to close 13. Sacramento will close seven. Last year Oakland closed five. These are not the first closings. New York City has closed more than 100 schools in recent years, including some of the new schools that opened to replace so-called failing schools.

These schools all have certain things in common. Their students are predominantly minority students who live in poverty. These schools are anchors in their communities, and they are being abandoned by city leaders in the name of thrift and “reform.”

We are told there is no money to support our schools. Paradoxical. The same reformers who tell us education is the ONLY way to overcome systemic poverty also tell us no money can be found to pay for high quality public schools for all. At a time when the stock market and corporate profits are at all time highs, we have no money for our schools, and their chief strategies are only about cutting costs.

We have a different vision of what must be done in our cities. Schools should be the center of reinvestment in our local communities. If they are underutilized, put them to work giving adults access to technology  and training opportunities. Make them vibrant centers of creative industry. Rather than scattering students to the four winds, bring them together in well-equipped, functional schools that serve all their needs. Connect them to projects rebuilding and strengthening their communities. Stop pursuing test preparation as if these scores are meaningful indicators of school quality.

Members of our Network are among those who plan to be arrested in civil disobedience on Wednesday. We stand with the students of Chicago, Philadelphia and all the cities across the country facing unjust school closures.

Do you have a story about school closings in your community? We want to build awareness around this issue. Send your stories to

Actions to take:

If you are in the Chicago area, attend the march and rally in downtown Chicago at 4 pm on Wednesday, Mar. 27. Details here.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel needs to hear from us. 

He is on Twitter at @rahmemanuel

Mayor Emanuel has a City of Chicago feedback form where you can leave  a message.

The CEO of Chicago schools, Barbara Byrd Bennett, can be reached via email at

Let them know how we feel!