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North Lawndale’s Frazier Charter School Faces Closure

The school is one of two charters that CPS said were on academic probation but failed to improve enough for the district to keep the schools open.

Frazier was recommended for closure by CPS.
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NORTH LAWNDALE— Last year, Frazier Preparatory Academy was placed on a list of five schools that needed to make significant improvements or face closure.

Chicago Public Schools last week said the results were in — Frazier, 3711 W. Douglas Blvd., and Chicago Virtual Charter on the Near West Side will be closed due to “poor performance.”

“As part of our commitment to ensure that students have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for success, we have established clear accountability metrics, standards and expectations that must be met in order to operate in the district,” CPS CEO Janice K. Jackson said in a statement, adding that these schools failed to meet these standards.

Charter schools on the warning list have to submit a remediation plan detailing how they will turn things around, but CPS leadership said Frazier and Chicago Virtual Charter School both failed to successfully roll out those plans.

“Based on our comprehensive review of charter school performance, our recommendation to close two charter schools is necessary to ensure students have access to the high-quality education they deserve,” Jackson said.

The closures must be approved by the Board of Education at a Wednesday meeting.

Ald. Michael Scott (24th) who chairs the City Council’s Education Committee, said he plans to meet with the board to gather additional information on what led Frazier to underperform year after year, and talk to CPS on how they determined the school should be closed.

As of Monday, the alderman said he hasn’t yet heard any complaints from parents in the area concerned about their child’s school closing. But Scott said if his constituents believe that Frazier is a quality school that brings valuable educational resources to Lawndale, he will advocate on their behalf to keep it open.

“If Frazier is a good quality school and it’s performing well for our community, then it is something that I will support,” Scott said.

CPS also announced that if the schools have their charters terminated, students would receive significant transition support.

“There are great quality schools that are in North Lawndale, and being able to find great academic fits for individual students… I would want to make sure that CPS is weighing in on that decision, and I’d like for them to step up and help parents in that vein, whether it is schools inside of North Lawndale or outside,” Scott said.

The Chicago Teachers Union, which opposes charter schools, slammed the planned closures in a statement, calling them “racist.”

“School closings—district, charter or otherwise—are bad for children,” the CTU said. “Proposed closing of two allegedly ‘poor’ performing charter schools is an admission of failure by the district after decades of charter proliferation.”

The board is set to meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday  at Curie High School, 4959 S. Archer Ave., to consider the fate of the schools recommended for closure.

The administration at Frazier is encouraging parents and community members to sign up to attend and speak at the meeting.

Attendees must register ahead of time at the Board of Education website if they want to address the board.

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.