10 Years of Public School Closings, Mapped Out

By Chris Bentley in News on Dec 8, 2011 5:00PM

2011_6_27_CPS.jpg In November Chicago Public Schools designated 10 South and West Side schools for turnaround — firing all staff — and said it would close or partially close eight others. It would be the most the district has ever done in one year, and the district expects to spend about $20 million hiring new staff and restructuring the schools.

If the district’s Board of Education approves the proposals, Chicago will close its 100th school since Mayor Daley’s administration introduced the “renaissance” program. In light of that landmark, WBEZ and Catalyst compiled this fascinating map that shows where schools have been closed or turned around, how well the new facilities are performing and what has become of those old school buildings.

Not surprisingly, the turnarounds have hit African Americans hardest. Humboldt Park and the Near West Side, followed by Grand Boulevard, have seen the most school shakeups. Those three areas are also due for more turnarounds under the new proposal.

According to CPS’ three-tiered ranking performance ranking system, turnarounds seem successful about one-fifth of the time. Eighteen percent of the new schools were rated “Level 1” by CPS this year. Almost 40 percent still languish at Level 3.

Many of the buildings now house charter or magnet schools, more than half of which admit students by lottery or test scores instead of based on neighborhood boundaries. A UIC study published in February slammed the rise of selective enrollment schools under Daley, claiming it widened the racial gap.