Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Chicago School Closings Impact Black and Latino Families

The Chicago Public School system is poised to shutter 53 elementary schools across the city to resolve a nearly $1 billion deficit, impacting thousands of mostly black and Latino children and their families.

Last year, about 44% of CPS students were Latino and 42% were African-American out of a total enrollment of 404,151.

Most of the schools being closed are in predominantly black neighborhoods with declining student enrollments. However, according to NBC Latino, eight of the schools being closed have enrollments that are more than 20 percent Latino. One of those schools is Ana Roque de Duprey Elementary School in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Chicago Teachers Union representative Sara Echevarria opposes the decision to close Duprey.

“This school has people who are vested in the community, who understand the culture in the community; a lot of these kids are special ed kids who need the support and the smaller class sizes,” Echevarria told NBC Latino.

However, the article notes that Chicago school officials say that the campus is only one-third full.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has defended the closings, and said they will enable the school system to spend more money on the remaining schools.

Latino Policy Forum executive director Sylvia Puente raised concerns about the 1,500 pre-kindergarten spots at the schools being closed.

“There is a severe shortage of Latinos in our early childhood education programs, so how these slots will or will not be redistributed should be studied,” Puente told NBC Latino.

A rally against the closures is scheduled for Wednesday.