UPDATING ALL DAY JANUARY 19, 2010: Leaked CPS 2010 Hit List? Sun-Times reports at least 14 schools to be closed this year, including 'turnaround' for Phillips and Marshall high schools... Huberman to hold press conference at 2:00 p.m.

The Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman is scheduled to hold a press conference on Tuesday, January 19, 2010, to announce that for the sixth year in a row, Chicago's public schools will subject schools to extreme sanctions, including so-called "turnaround", a process of reconstitution (the legal term) that results in the replacement of the school's entire teaching and administrative staff. "Turnaround" is expected to be put in place at three elementary schools and two high schools which the Board of Education claims are "failing," but which critics of the policy say ignores all but the most trivial realities that impact the lives of children living in the midst of Chicago's brutal poverty and almost complete segregation of poor African American children. As usual, the overwhelming majority of the schools slated for closing and turnaround are all-black schools serving the most impoverished children in Chicago.

The list published on the morning of January 19 only included 14 schools. CPS officials were unwilling to confirm the list when contacted early in the morning.

[Editor's Note: The coverage of this story will be updated throughout the day and night today, January 19, 2010. Our first effort has been to try and confirm based on sources at CPS that the Sun-Times report is accurate. With each new fact, we will add a paragraph below. The time at which we report each will be indicated in the paragraph].

The Chicago Sun-Times, which has been getting preferred treatment in the Chicago Board of Education's media leaks, is reporting this morning (January 19, 2010) in a front page story that at least 14 Chicago public schools are on the 2010 Hit List to be announced by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ron Huberman. These are schools that are scheduled to be closed, consolidated, phased out, or subjected to "turnaround." Two high schools and three elementary schools will face the controversial "turnaround" strategy, which began the high school level two years ago with the Board's decision to "turnaround" Orr and Harper high schools. The 'Hit List' is a phrase used by opponents of the process for the last few years.

Opponents also note that charter schools and certain favored schools are exempt from such sanctions.

At 8:30 a.m. Substance confirmed that the Marshall High School Local School Council will begin meeting at Marshall High Schools, 3250 W. Adams St., at 9:00 a.m. Sources familiar with the situation say that Chicago Schools Chief "Education" Officer Barbara Eason Watkins is supposed to be at Marshall this morning. [Update 8:30 a.m. 1/19/10].

A representative of the Board of Education's Office of Communications told Substance that the Board is holding a press conference at 2:00 p.m. at the Board's offices, in the sixth floor press conference room of the Office of Communications. The person who answered the phone, who refused to identify herself other than "Miss Green", said that CPS communications personnel were preparing a press release which would be sent out "soon." She refused to say whether the Sun-Times story was accurate or who at the Communications Department was working on the press release.

AT 9:12 a.m. the CPS Office of Communications issued a press release announcing the 2:00 press conference, without providing any further details. The press release stated:

For more information contact:

CPS Office of Communications

(773) 553-1620—office



CPS Officials to Announce Proposed School Actions

WHO: Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman

WHAT: Announcement and press conference on proposed school actions

WHEN: Tuesday January 19, 2010 at 2 p.m. WHERE: Chicago Public Schools Pressroom

Office of Communications

125 S. Clark St.-6th Floor

Chicago Public Schools officials will announce proposed school actions on closings, phase-outs, consolidations and turnarounds.


A source who for more than 20 years has been familiar with the situation at South Shore High School told Substance, on condition of anonymity, that Huberman's plans to close the remaining small schools high schools (South Shore and Bowen) has been delayed because the Board of Education's plans for a new building at the South Shore campus have been stalled because the Board failed to consider underground water that has been undermining the newer building at the school site when construction began. The changeover of South Shore has been delayed for at least one year, the source said.

Many observers are reporting that each of the schools to be closed has already been designated for use by a charter or other novelty school. The source also reported that Tim King and "Urban Prep" are refusing to begin operations at South Shore, despite a Board vote, because Urban Prep will not share the space as long as the current South Shore students are there. Four years ago, Tim King and Urban Prep did the same thing before their move into Englewood High School building. King has Urban Prep located inside Lindblom High School, which had itself a carefully selected student population, rather than place his students inside Englewood while the majority of Englewood students were still there. Englewood, like a number of other high schools (Collins, Calumet, and Austin among them) was phased out by having the school refuse to admit incoming 9th graders, resulting in a three-year "slow death" for the schools.

A source at the Chicago Teachers Union who asked not to be identified because the source is not authorized to speak on the record to Substance confirmed that CTU officials are meeting to discuss the union's response to the the announcement by Huberman. The union source confirmed that union officials including CTU President Marilyn Stewart had been informed during the process in which Huberman was developing the list which is to be made public today, but that the union is not supporting the process. The union has been critical of "turnaround" since its inception and has been critical of the process of reconstitution (which is what "turnaround" is under Illinois law) since it was first used in Chicago in 1997, according to the union source. The union's critique of the CPS activities on closing schools, according to sources at the union, has been in place under President Tom Reece (who was ousted in a heated election in 2001), Deborah Lynch (who served a three-year term until she was ousted in June 2004) and the current president, Marilyn Stewart. The union had not issued an official statement as of Substance press time. [Update 1/19/10, 9:30 a.m.].

As of the morning of January 19, 2010, the following schools were on the list. The action reportedly to be taken against the schools is listed in parenthesis after the name of the school.

1) Curtis Elementary, 32 E. 115th (Closing)

2) Deneen Elementary, 7257 S. State (Turnaround)

3) Gillespie Elementary, 9301 S. State (Turnaround)

4) Guggenheim Elementary, 7141 S. Morgan (Closing)

5) Las Casas Occupational High School, 8401 S. Saginaw (Closing)

6) McCorkle Elementary, 4421 S. State (Consolidation)

7) Marconi Elementary, 230 N. Kolmar (Consolidation)

8) Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams (Turnaround)

9) Mollison Elementary, 4415 S. King Dr (Consolidation)

10) Paderewski Elementary, 2221 S. Lawndale (Consolidation)

11) Phillips High School, 244 E. Pershing (Turnaround)

12) Prescott Elementary, 1632 W. Wrightwood, (Closing)

13) Ruggles Elementary, 7831 S. Prairie (Turnaround)

14) Schneider Elementary, 2957 N. Hoyne (Phase Out)

]The Sun-Times story follows:

Fixed schools fail... Several closing; others -- including Phillips, Marshall -- to get overhaul. January 19, 2010... BY ROSALIND ROSSI Education Reporter/

Storied Phillips High -- where Nat "King" Cole once walked the halls -- and basketball powerhouse Marshall High School are among 14 Chicago public schools expected to face massive shakeups, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Fewer than 4 percent of students at Phillips High School passed their state exams last year, so now the school staff could be replaced. Previous overhauls at the school haven't yielded much progress, however. CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS TARGETED FOR CLOSING:

* Curtis Elementary, 32 E. 115th

* Guggenheim Elementary, 7141 S. Morgan

* Prescott Elementary, 1632 W. Wrightwood.

* Las Casas Occupational High School, 8401 S. Saginaw.


* Ruggles Elementary, 7831 S. Prairie

* Gillespie Elementary, 9301 S. State

* Deneen Elementary, 7257 S. State

* Phillips High School, 244 E. Pershing

* Marshall High School, 3250 W. Adams


* McCorkle Elementary, 4421 S. State

* Paderewski Elementary, 2221 S. Lawndale

* Marconi Elementary, 230 N. Kolmar

* Mollison Elementary, 4415 S. King Dr.


* Schneider Elementary, 2957 N. Hoyne

Both predominately black high schools [Pilllips and Marshall] have faced major overhauls in the past, with little academic success.

A third high school is facing a total shutdown, sources say. Officials contend the South Side building housing Las Casas Occupational High doesn't meet the needs of the 82 special education students it serves. Officials want to send those students to Montefiore, a public school for truants and troubled students; Banner Linc Alternative School and various private schools.

The shakeup plan under discussion Monday called for the closure of Las Casas and three other schools, whose children would be sent elsewhere. Four others would consolidate with other schools; one would stop accepting new kids and phase out over time, and five would experience staffing "turnarounds." However, the plan was still being tweaked late Monday, when four small high schools in one building were spared from turnaround.

Schools CEO Ron Huberman is expected to announce the list of school closures and other shakeups today, but he does so after proposing a new "Student Bill of Rights'' intended to ease the transition for kids switching to new schools.

For the first time, kids in schools closed for either academic reasons or for lack of enrollment have been promised they will be sent to higher-performing schools. Some receiving schools will get longer school days and some transferred kids will get summer school classes to guard against academic loss.

Facing closure along with Las Casas as of Monday were two schools nagged by poor performance: Curtis Elementary, whose students would be split among Pullman and Haley; and Guggenheim, with its kids to be offered seats at Hinton, Altgeld and in some cases, based on student addresses, two magnet schools with empty seats -- Nicholson and Burnside Scholastic.

Headed for closure because of low enrollment is Prescott, which officials contend serves fewer than 200 kids in a building designed for 600. Agassiz and Burley would absorb its kids.

Schneider would stop accepting new kids next school year and gradually phase out.

McCorkel, Paderewski, Marconi and Mollison have been tapped for consolidation into other schools. McCorkel kids will be sent to Beethoven, which has received kids from failed schools in the past -- a practice critics say can drag down the performance of receiver schools.

Facing a "turnaround'' by the not-for-profit Academy for Urban School Leadership are Phillips High and three elementary schools: Ruggles, Gillespie and Deneen. Marshall's turnaround would be coordinated by CPS officials.

Marshall, home to the winningest basketball coach in state history — girls coach Dorothy Gaters — has been through its share of fixes. In 2000, it was "re-engineered.'' By 2006, Lane Tech Principal Keith Foley — whom CPS officials touted as a "superstar''— was sent in as a principal mentor. At the time, 15 percent of kids were passing state tests. The pass rate has since plunged to 3.9 percent.

Phillips, which counts Cole and Dinah Washington among its alums, lost a third of its staff in 1997 under reconstitution, only to face "re-engineering'' in 2000. The school also received an infusion of cash at one point from billionaire Walter Annenberg. 