What You Missed At Today's School Closings Press Conference

There was lots of media -- but not that much news -- at today's school closings press conference.

In truth, school closings are sort of old news by now, after four years of them. The criteria have gotten more refined.  The announcement/hearings/decisionmaking process has gotten earlier in the year. 

As a result, the news is pretty much limited to the announcement of which schools will be closed next year for low performance:  This year's hapless quartet include Frazier ES, Morse ES, Farren , and Collins HS.  Two others are being "converted" -- Sherman ES and Carver Military Academy (again?) -- but not closed for a year or phased out like the others.  Download closings-rel-final.doc (the press release).  Sherman is apparently being given over to CAUSL for next year. 

There are also 182 other schools that are in some sort of trouble with NCLB and are being affected in various ways.  And of course the already-known closings and consolidations:  Arai, Bowen, DuSable, Lindblom, and KIPP VIllage Academy at Williams.

Of sights and sounds, there was much more to take in.  A lineup of top CPS staff standing behind the podium looking like they were in front of a firing squad.  A room crowded full of reporters, most trying to ask-tough-sounding, indignant questions.  A wall of TV cameras and could-care-less cameramen reading the paper in back.  A press release (see above) that lists the addresses -- almost always far-off places like 4027 W. Grenshaw St. (Frazier) -- of the schools being closed.

Standing bravely at the front of it all, there's Arne and Michael doing their practiced school-closings schtick:  It's not about the kids.  Let's just be honest about it.  Past school closings have generally worked and there are lots of other good things going on.  (Current favorites include Suder ES's Montessori program, Al Raby HS at Lucy Flower, KIPP at Mason.)

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