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Don’t close neighborhood schools

President Barack Obamspeaks Internal Revenue Service's targeting conservative groups for extrtax scrutiny East Room White House WashingtWednesday May 15 2013.

President Barack Obama speaks on the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups for extra tax scrutiny in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday May 15, 2013. Obama announced the resignation of Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, the top official at the IRS. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Updated: June 23, 2013 6:27AM

Don’t close neighborhood schools

Having taught for 35 years for the CPS, now retired, I can testify that the community schools are the hub of life for the majority of young people in depressed neighborhoods. In most cases, if a student experienced something out of the confines of the home, it was through the efforts of his neighborhood school. To yank out the school from the equation of their everyday life would be a point of insecurity, stress and disorientation. To bus them into unknown neighborhoods can subject them to dangerous gangs who resent their trespass, and violence can ensue.

A sense of community is lost when the neighborhood school is closed. An effort must be made to improve schools that are in existence rather than board them up or rent them for other purposes. It is wrong to yank out the stability and pride of the neighborhood. It is like saying that the school is substandard or deficient in some way and therefore the community is the same.

People value their children and their destiny, and closing schools in a neighborhood where it is desperately needed is a waste and an insult to the communities involved.

Mayor Emanuel, please wake up and fight for the neighborhood schools to improve rather than dismissing the problem by shutting them down!

Marie E. Roman,

Tinley Park

Big government not the problem

Thanks Steve Huntley for making some good points [“Scandals reveal big gov dangers,” May 21].

We independents are concerned about government intrusion as is President Obama. Polls show that Americans trust him more than Congress and conservatives. Agency intrusion cannot be tolerated, however, nor can bad claims for non-profit status.

The issue is not big government, but appropriate government.

And conservatives have shown that they create excesses in fed intrusion.

We agree about wrongful intrusion, but stances against “big” government are off the point, simplistic and self-serving.

Ken Andersen,

Portage Park

Kudos to Sun-Times “Final Bell” series

Kudos to reporter Lauren FitzPatrick and photographer Jessica Koscielniak for giving readers a vivid portrait, in their “Final Bell” series [May 19-21], of the realities Chicago students, parents and teachers face as CPS barrels toward closing an unprecedented 54 schools this year. But don’t forget that the NUMBERS Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett are using to JUSTIFY these closings are utterly BOGUS!

Emanuel and Byrd-Bennett insist that a school is “underutilized” if it has fewer than 30 students in each classroom. Here’s the problem: We’ve know at least since the 1960s that a 30-students-per-class standard guarantees poor learning results for specific types of students. What types of students NEED classes of 15 or 20 students to succeed? ALL students under the age of 8; ALL students with any kind of disability (sight, hearing, mobility, learning, or emotional); and ALL students learning English as a second language.

I’m guessing students who fall into one or more of these categories represent 30 to 40 percent of ALL CPS students — and 50 percent or more of students in schools scheduled to close or to receive students from closed schools.

It’s simply irrational to force students who NEED 15-student classes into 30-student classes so Emanuel and Byrd-Bennett can prove they’re “tough”! Safety is ONE strong argument AGAINST closing 54 schools this year; the educational needs of the children involved is ANOTHER strong argument AGAINST closing those schools. I’m still waiting to hear ANY strong argument FOR closing those schools that isn’t built on made-up numbers and empty promises.

Mary A. Carroll

East Lakeview

Leave neighborhood schools alone

Rahm Emanuel, wise up leave all the schools open, and get rid of those school buses, and the drivers. Let the kids go to school in their own neighborhood. That’s the way it used to be and there never was any problems. While you’re at it knock off 20 aldermen and you can save a lot more money.

Charles Finlon,


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