Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Head of Chicago Public Schools, Defends School Closures, Insulted by Racism Charges

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Barbara Byrd-Bennett, Head of Chicago Public Schools, Defends School Closures, Insulted by Racism Charges. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So much for claims of racism in the Chicago school closings, right? Barbara Byrd-Bennett, head of Chicago Public Schools said that the accusations of racism about her plans to close 54 schools in mostly black areas, insulted her “as a woman of color.” She said closing the 54 schools was made after listening to testimonies from more than 20,000 people at dozens of hearings pertaining to the schools, the Chicago Sun Times reports. You will recall, Mayor Rahm Emanuel came under scathing criticism for the school closures, considering his children attend expensive private schools.

Most of the targeted schools are in the city’s black and poorest communities on the West and South sides, but, Byrd-Bennett said, most CPS students are black or Hispanic, so the closings will affect “children of color.”

“What I cannot understand and will not accept is that the proposals are racist,” Byrd-Bennett said, prompting shouts of “They are!” from the often-raucous crowd.

On Tuesday, parents called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to try out the often dangerous routes their children will have to take to their new schools, often crossing gang territory lines. Byrd-Bennett, however, said she has no time for adults who use the “excuse of gangs to keep children trapped in failing schools.” Source

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  • is she a chicago resident?

  • Butterball Wilkins

    Are the schools under-performing or under-utilized? Let’s get our stories straight Ms.Byrd. You said that the decision to close CPS’s would focus on schools with low enrollment and not low performance. Just because a school is under-utilized does not mean it is under-performing. Actually, all historical studies show that smaller teacher to student ratios are beneficial to all parties involved. If all schools are receiving the same resources and following the same curriculum, then how can smaller settings produce failure? And how will larger classroom settings produce achievement? And remember when not too long ago – the problem with CPSs was supposedly due to “overcrowding”? Lots of doublethink / doublespeak going on here. Even if you or your children are not affected by this debacle, you and your families should be VERY concerned and fearful that our government sees us as gullible, weak-minded individuals overall.