The Chicago Public Schools open on Aug. 26 for the 2013-14 school year, according to CBS on Sunday. With the new school year comes many changes for the students and their families. The biggest change is that literally thousands of students will be attending schools they have never attended before.
The changes in schools are due to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s successful effort to close 50 of Chicago’s schools at the vehement dismay of the Chicago Public School Teachers Union as well as many Chicago students and parents. Emanuel is calling the new school year "the new beginning." The major concern has been safety for the children who must now cross from one gang territory to another in a city that had more than 500 murders last year.
Emanuel's hand-chosen Chicago School Board voted at the end of last school year to close some-50 elementary schools which is designed to improve education and, mostly, decrease a $1 billion budget deficit that the Chicago Public Schools have amassed.
The safety concern was addressed by the development of School Safe Passage Routes, of which many are skeptical because summer murders and gun shooting violence has occurred recently where some of the Safe Passage Routes are located. Another concern is that some of the persons responsible for the children's safety are volunteers as well as persons hired at $10 per hour. It is wondered how effective volunteer monitors and low paid personnel will be against the city of crime and violence. There are reports that Chicago firefighters and security guards from Chicago Public Libraries will be on hand as well.
Discontent parents who are tremendously opposed to the school closings which are causing the safety concerns have sued over the new school plans, but a federal judge refused to stop the closings of the schools.
Additionally, many persons have lost their jobs in the shuffling of students to the fewer school buildings remaining on the Chicago map. A reduced staff will have many watching to see how well the teaching of as many students with fewer persons employed will work.
Other changes to the new school year in Chicago include the calendar. This year, all schools are opening on the same day rather than having the previous two track system. This allows all students to begin the school year on the same day and end on the same day. Also, students will have the same days off which will ease planning for families of Chicago Public School students. This, however, does not include Chicago students who will be attending charter schools. Each charter school is said to have its own start date, and students and parents should contact their individual charter school for the school’s calendar including the starting date.