I woke up a few days ago with a familiar dread in pit in my stomach when I learned of of the closing of 23 public schools in Philadelphia. It was the same feeling that I felt when I found out the closing of 49 schools and one program in Chicago. Is this a trend? Is this what we have to look forward to year after year?
Officials in both districts argue that these closings are necessary to shrink a budget gap, and that keeping the schools open would only perpetuate the status quo. Even if I were to believe that their arguments were warranted to suggest that closing these schools are going to do anything to change the status quo is completely erroneous. Barbara Byrd Bennett has claimed that “The only consideration…is to do exactly what is right for the children.” It is that shortsighted view by the Chicago Public Schools CEO that calls her leadership abilities into question. And it is actions like those in Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Washington that enshrine a cycle of poverty that the reformers claim to be committed to combating.