Nine elementary schools on the district’s unofficial list of closings are among a group of 39 schools identified by Catalyst that have made little or no progress despite ongoing efforts to improve student performance. (See Making connections, Sept/Oct 2009) Five were tagged by CPS as possibilities for turnaround; four are facing closure.

These 39 chronically low performing schools are clearly bunched in a few impoverished South and West side communities—Englewood, along the Dan Ryan in Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park and Austin—where trust between parents, educators and communities is low, making the climate less than ideal for education to get any better. Sociologist Charles Payne says it best in his book, “So much reform, so little gain.” (See “Sounds easy until you try it”)

In simple but dramatic fashion, maps illustrate the entangling of community and schooling issues. Click here to see for yourself.

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