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#556 In-person and Online: Investigating School Closing Promises


Sarah Karp, Education Reporter, WBEZ-Chicago

This event will be in person, but you can also tune in via our usual livestream. Doors open at 6pm. The livestream and announcements will start around 6:30pm CDT.

In-person: TeamWorking, 20 N Upper Wacker Drive, 12th Floor, Chicago IL. Enter the Civic Opera Building using the entrance in the middle of the block between Washington and Madison streets. Take the elevators to the 12th floor.

For more information on our in-person events, please see our COVID Policy.

Chicago closed 50 public schools a decade ago in the largest mass school closings in history. At the time, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel made three key promises: The vacated buildings would be quickly redeveloped into community assets; students would go to better resourced schools with all the bells and whistles and they would have a better chance of success at better schools. Karp, along with WBEZ data editor and colleagues at the Chicago Sun Times, set out to test whether these promises were kept. We also were interested in how the school closings impacted the communities around them. In other words, did the fears that so many expressed when this was proposed come to fruition.

Doing this project took a combination of good ol’ fashion shoe leather reporting, as well as deep data analysis. In this presentation, Karp will talk about the value of visiting every single closed school. She will also talk about the community analysis that data editor Alden Loury did and how that led to one of the most profound findings: The areas around schools saw greater population declines than even similarly situated neighborhoods. Finally, she will discuss the data sharing agreement with the Illinois State Board of Education that allowed Karp to compare the educational trajectories of students who were at schools closed in 2013 with those students who were in schools with comparable demographics and performance levels that stayed open.

RSVP In-person attendees should RSVP beforehand. As occupancy limits permit, walk-ins will be allowed to enter.

Masks required Attendees will be required to wear a mask. We will provide additional masks if you forget yours.

There will be food! We will be serving chicken, steak and veggie tacos from Atolito’s Tacos!

Agenda and meeting notes
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