Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New Studies Cite Concern for Converting National Teacher's Academy into Sloop High School

Major story on the potential to convert National Teacher's Academy into a South Loop Neighborhood High-school (via
Chicago Public Schools leaders face “a high level of mistrust” and need more community outreach to address "a significant level of acrimony” between two elementary school communities the city plans to merge, according to a district-commissioned report made public less than two days before a school board vote on the matter.
“A myriad of concerns and challenges have arisen from the CPS proposal” to fold the National Teachers’ Academy into facilities at nearby South Loop Elementary, said the report from Westat, a statistical research firm based in Maryland.

The CPS-financed analysis of an effort meant to transform the NTA building at 55 W. Cermak Road into a culturally diverse high school for the surrounding area follows a separate report produced by opponents of the proposal that came out in January

The analysis from Chicago United for Equity concluded the merger would have “an undue burden” on predominantly poor and black communities including NTA’s existing students, future generations of low-income African-American CPS students and nearby existing high schools that struggle with low enrollment and limited resources.

“It is incumbent upon our city to find solutions that get to the same intent without perpetuating inequity,” said Niketa Brar, the group’s executive director and a former policy director to city Treasurer Kurt Summers. “We’re talking about one group of people that are being marginalized by this plan, with the intention that there be this new high school. You can get to that same good intention in multiple ways.”

The two studies are part of an ongoing and tense community debate as the Chicago Board of Education takes up a final vote to approve the plan Wednesday.

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