Here's an interesting email (used with permission) from a Chicago parent who read my recent Education Next article (Reforming Rahm) and thought that I under-estimated the impact of the closings on the number of options available to parents trying to stay in public schools. It was much harder to get into a school this past year, he writes, and eventually they ended up going the private school route. What do you think?
"He's using the tools of test scores to evaluate school performance and this is suspicious, he complicates that position by stating that in effect ONLY 50 schools were closed and by giving no love to the idea of schools as community learning places.
"So although I feel like a learned a whole lot from his "authoritative" article, I was disposed to mistrust all his information on the CPS-CTU relationship and other areas where I am underinformed. I think a paragraph explicitly naming his functional assumptions would have allowed my to relax my defenses and put myself in his capable hands.
"I was unable to survive the closings applied for 20 schools and got into none.* So we are in private school as a result. I expect to pay an additional $175,000 in education costs for my daughter as a result of the school closings. How many folks were forced out at huge personal expense? Should we also be bracing for property taxes to go up?
"As a lifelong participant in public progressive education, I both lament the failure of the public schools and understand the impossibility of the position our state is in regarding the pension problem. More accurate information is always welcome, we just have to trust the information source a priory, or better yet acknowledge limits and strategies within conversations and writings, in the service of actual communication."
*He later explained that his daughter was waitlisted in the 500's on a North Side elementary schools, that the first choice was Pierce, and that they were eventually admitted to a handful of schools but had already committed to send their second child to private. Five years before, applying to 20 schools got his son into 4 and lower waitlist numbers than this most recent time around.