As the saying goes, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Unfortunately, that saying does not bode well for the thousands of children who will be displaced when 54 schools shut down this year. It’s also a bad omen for communities. The last thing Englewood, Austin or any of the neighborhoods—most of them poor and black—that stand to lose schools need is another boarded-up vacant building.
CPS leaders closed only four elementary schools last year, but cannot account for 11 percent of students. Most children didn’t wind up at a top-performing school—the only way to substantially improve students’ academic trajectory. The stakes are much higher this year, with 54 schools slated to shut down.