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Discussion Questions

  • 1. How have school closures, if at all, impacted your community? What are the rationales given for school closures? In your community who is impacted the most by school closures and why?
  • 2. What are some alternative policy solutions to school closure that your community could consider that would be more equity- and justice-oriented?
  • 3. Do communities of color have a voice in school policy and decision-making in your school community? If so, how are these communities engaging in community organizing practices to support equity and justice in schools?
  • 4. Does your school community view communities of color as educational leaders and engage in shared leadership with communities of color? If so, how, and if not, how could you develop spaces for shared leadership with minoritized communities?

School Closure Resources

  • • Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education: https://ceje.
  • • Interview with Dr. Eve Ewing author of Ghosts in the Schoolyard (2018):—breaking-down-structural-racism-with-ghosts-in-the-schoolyard-
  • • Journey for Justice Alliance:
  • • Schott Foundation for Public Education: http://schottfoundation. org/

Recommended readings

Ewing, E. L. (2018). Ghosts in the schoolyard: Racism and school closings on Chicago’s South Side. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Stovall, D. O. (2016). Born out of struggle: Critical race theory, school creation, and the politics of interruption. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.


Ahmed-Ullah, N. S. (2013, July 17). Gang expert testifies school closures will put kids “in line of fire.” Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from https://www., html

Anderson, C. (2016). White rage: The unspoken truth of our racial divide. New York: Bloomsbury'.

Austin Voices for Education and Youth. (2016). Reagan community school project. Austin, TX: Authors. Retrieved from reagan-community-school-project/

Barnum, M. (February 5, 2019). Five things we’ve learned from a decade of research on school closures. Chalkbeat. Retrieved from posts/us/2019/02/05/school-closure-research-review/

Brick, M. (2012). Saving the school: The true story of a principal a teacher, a coach, a bunch of kids, and a year in the crosshairs of education reform. New York: Penguin Press.

Brummet, Q. (2014). The effect of school closings on student achievement. Journal of Public Economics, 119, 108—124.

Carlson, D. & Lavertu, S. (2015). School closures on student achievement: An analysis of Ohio’s urban district and charter schools. Columbus, OH: Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Retrieved from file:///Users/diems/Downloads/


Carpenter, Z. (2015, October 12). The legacy of Arne Duncan, ‘a hero in the education business.’ The Nation. Retrieved from https://www.thenation. com/article/archive/the-legacy-of-arne-duncan/

Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. (2013). Homeless children are 8% of 31,438 students impacted by Chicago Public Schools’ closing/merger plans. Chicago, IL: Authors. Retrieved from

Chicago Public Schools. (2016). Renaissance 2010. Retrieved from www.cps. edu/ PROGRAMS/ DISTRICTINITIATIVES/ Pages/ Renaissance2010. asxpx

Cobb, J. (2015). The life and death of Jamaica High School. The New Yorker.

Retrieved from /class-notes-annals-of-educationjelanicobb

The Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education. (2014). The impact of school closings on parent involvement. Chicago, IL: College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved from l/CEJE-% 20parent-participation-2014.02.22.pdf

Davey, M., & Walsh, M. W. (2013, July 18). Billions in debt, Detroit tumbles into insolvency. The New York Tinies. Retrieved from 19/us/detroit-files-for-bankruptcy.html

de la Torre, M., & Gwynne, J. (2009). When schools close: Effects on displaced students in Chicago Public Schools. Chicago, IL: Consortium on Chicago School Research, University of Chicago.

Diem, S., & Welton, A.D. (2017). Disrupting spaces for education policymaking and activism. In R. Diem & Berson, M. (Eds.), Mending walls: Historical, socioPolitical, economic, and geographic perspectives. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Engberg, J., Gill, B., Zamarro, G., & Zimmer, R. W. (2012). Closing schools in a shrinking district: Do student outcomes depend on which schools are closed? Journal of Urban Economics, 7/(2), 189-203.

Ewing, E. L. (2015). “We shall not be moved”: A hunger strike, education, and housing, in Chicago. The New Yorker. Retrieved from www.newyorker. com/news/news-desk/we-shall-not-be-moved-a-hunger-strike-education-and-housing-in-chicago

Fitzpatrick, L. (2015). Dyett hunger strike ends after 34 days. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved from

Good, R. (2016). Histories that root us: Neighborhood, place, and the protest of school closures in Philadelphia. Urban Geography, 38(0), 861-883.

Gordon, M. F., de la Torre, M., Crowhy, J. R., Moore, P. T, Sartain, L., & Knight, D. (2018). School closings in Chicago: Staff and student experiences and academic outcomes. Chicago, IL: Consortium on Chicago School Research, University of Chicago. Retrieved from default/files/2018-10/School%20Closings%20in%20Chicago-May2018-Consortium.pdf

Green, T. L. (2015). Leading for urban school reform and community development. Educational Administration Quarterly, 5/(5), 679—711.

Hopkinson, N. (2010, September 5). Why Michelle Rhee’s ‘brand’ failed in D.C. The Atlantic. Retrieved from 2010/09/why-michelle-rhees-education-brand-failed-in-dc/63014/

Johnson, A. W. (2012). “Turnaround” as shock therapy: Race, neoliberalism, and school reform. Urban Education, 48(2), 232-256.

Journey for Justice Alliance. (2014). Death by a thousand cuts: Racism, school closures, and public school sabotage. Chicago, IL: Authors. Retrieved from ww.

Kemple, J. J. (2015). High school closures in New York City: Impact on students’ outcomes, attendance, and mobility. New York: The Research Alliance for New York City Schools. Retrieved from media/users/sgl58/PDFs/hs_closures/HighSchoolClosuresinNewYorkC ity_ResearchAllianceforNYCSChools_pdf.pdf

Kirshner, B., & Gaertner, M. (2015). Review of school closures and student achievement. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from

Kirshner, B., Gaertner, M., & Pozzoboni, K. (2010). Tracing transitions: Understanding the impact of a school closure on displaced students. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 32(30), 407-429.

Kirshner, B., & Pozzoboni, K. M. (2011). Student interpretations of a school closure: Implications for student voice in equity-based school reform. Teachers College Record, 113(8), 1633—1667.

Lee, J., & Lubienski, C. (2017). The impact of school closures on equity of access in Chicago. Education and Urban Society, 49(1), 53-80.

Lipman, P. (2011). The new political economy of urban education: Neoliberalism, race, and the right to the city. New York: Routledge.

Lipman, P., & Hursh, D. (2007). Renaissance 2010: The reassertion of rulingclass power through neoliberal policies in Chicago. Policy Futures in Education, 5(2), 160-178.

Lipman, P., Vaughan, K., & Gutierrez, R. R. (2014). Root shock: Parents’ perspectives on school closings in Chicago. Chicago, IL: Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education, College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Masterson, M. (2016). Dyett High School reopening 1 year after activist hunger strike. Chicago Tonight, Retrieved from 01/dyett-high-school-reopening-l-year-after-activist-hunger-strike

Mead, S. (2017, April 20). The capital of education reform. U.S. News. Retrieved from www.usnews.coin/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2017-04-20/ michelle-rhee-set-national-example-of-education-reform-in-washington-dc

Mediratta, K., Shah, S., & McAlister, S. (2008). Organized communities, stronger schools: A preview of research findings. Providence, RI: Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.

The Pew Charitable Trust. (2011). Closing public schools in Philadelphia: Lessons from six urban districts. Retrieved from 2011/10/19/closing_public_schools_philadelphia_report.pdf

The Pew Charitable Trust. (2016). Governing urban schools in the future: What’s facing Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Retrieved from media/ assets/2016/01 /urban_school_governance_brief_fmal.pdf

Pizarek, J., Rubin, V., & Schildt, C. (2017). An equity profile on the city of Detroit.

Washington, D.C.: Policy Link. Retrieved from resources-tools/detroit-city-equity-profile

Renée, M., & McAlister, S. (2011). Community organizing as an education reform strategy. The Education Digest, 76(9), 40-47.

Rothstein, R. (2017). The color of law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America. New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation.

The Schott Foundation. (2013). The color of school closures. Quincy, MA: Authors. Retrieved from color-school-closures

Siegel-Hawley, G., Bridges, K., & Shields, T. J. (2017). Solidifying segregation or promoting diversity? School closure and rezoning in an urban district. Educational Administration Quarterly, 55(1), 107-141.

Stovall, D. O. (2016). Born out of struggle: Critical race theory, school creation, and the politics of interruption. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Stovall, D. (2013). 14 souls, 19 days and 1600 dreams: Engaging critical race praxis while living on the “edge” of race. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 54(4), 562—579.

Strauss, V. (2017, November 29). A new D.C. schools scandal: Back to the future. The Washington Post. Retrieved from news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/11/29/a-new-d-c-schools-scandal-back-to-the-future/?utm_term=.a4096842f379

Texas AFT. (2015). Community schools gain traction as proven model for turning around low performing schools. Austin, TX: Author. Retrieved from http://

Trujillo, T, & Valladares, M. R., & Kini, T. (2012). Democratic school turnarounds: Pursuing equity and learning from evidence. Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center. Retrieved from democratic-school-turnarounds

United States Department of Education. (2003). Questions and answers on No Child Left Behind. Washington, D.C.: Authors. Retrieved from https://www2. html#5

Welton, A., & Freelon, R. (2018). Community organizing as educational leadership: Lessons from Chicago on the politics of racial justice. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 13(f), 79—104.

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