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Closing schools has become an almost reflexive, corporate solution to a complex fiscal and social problema problem to which no one has found a satisfying answer.

Districts shutter, sell, or destroy physical properties typically for fiscal reasons. Districts also terminate contracts of poor-performing service providers to make way for new leaders who most often radically rearrange the organs of a schoolmaking it in essence a new school. In either case for students, alumni, and family members, closing a school can feel like excommunicating a grandfather to the wilderness to save money.

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A City Education: Welcoming the Challenges of Chicago

Despite the polarizing controversy of Chicago's school closings, the city's students still need tutors and mentors.


Through A City Education, City Year corps members share their experiences working as tutors and mentors in schools in hopes of closing the opportunity gap and ending the dropout crisis.

Anyone familiar with the issues surrounding education, and specifically the school closings in Chicago, knows that oftentimes the meaningful, solutions-oriented discussions we need are replaced by polarizing controversy. But despite the controversy, I'm proudly serving as a team leader with City Year Chicago, where I help to oversee a team of nine first-year corps members.

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Why We Need Schools To Uplift Their Communities Now More Than Ever

At this point, it's not enough to just say "no" to reforms. We also need to have alternative solutions for our children.


As Helen Keller said, "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."

That's why on Wednesday, when Chicago Public Schools decided to shut down 50 public schools, along with either combining or putting others in a turnaround model, even the casual observer could see the absolute failure of our current public education system and its wayward reforms.

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Chicago's Snowpocalypse: Bad News for Hungry Kids

Everybody loves a snow day—unless you come from a low-income background and qualify to receive free breakfast and lunch at school.


According to the USDA, almost 20 million students nationwide eat free or reduced-price breakfast or lunch at school every day. So what happens to those kids when school is closed due to a Snowpocalypse? For far too many, it means being hungry.

During this week's blizzard, Chicago got 20.2 inches of snow—making it the third largest snowstorm in city history. But even though Chicago Public Schools closed for snow days for the first time in 12 years, many school buildings remained open in case hungry students showed up looking for a meal. Even with impassable roads and temperatures below zero, the need in Chicago is real. Of the district's 409,000 students, 86 percent come from low-income backgrounds and qualify to receive free meals.

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Half of Detroit's Schools May Close

Financial mismanagement and declining enrollment are ringing a death knell for Detroit's schools.


Financial mismanagement and declining enrollment are ringing a death knell for Detroit's schools. According to Detroit Public School Emergency Manager Robert Bobb, to close a $327 million budget deficit, he'll need to shut half of the city's campuses over the next two years.

Under the plan, the 142 current schools in the district would be reduced to 72 by the 2012-13 school year. What will happen to the students attending those schools? Bobb plans to shift them over to the remaining campuses, raising class sizes to 62 students per teacher.

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