Ms. Alexandra Anderson
CHICAGO, IL — An epidemic of mass school closings is afflicting inner city neighborhoods in Chicago, Illinois, adding to the already overwhelming load of adverse circumstances plaguing youth at risk. Whether a bustling metropolis, or a quaint town, the economic disparity between families stalks the lives of youth nationally. From Englewood to CVU, the problem quietly weaves itself into the American culture.
Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago since 2011, has justified the issue with causes such as under enrollment and underperformance, but has failed to recognize the larger problem at hand: an environment that fosters neglect in an ever gentrifying urban space. Here, in a city with an enormous wealth disparity and racial divide, the population living on or below the poverty line in primarily non-white neighborhoods have had to learn to cope with abandonment.
Asha Hickok, a 16 year old junior at CVU, traveled to Chicago this summer with the program Conversations from the Open Road, to learn about the deteriorating public school system in Englewood, a designated community area in the south side of the city. She says that although Englewood is an extreme situation, common themes resonate throughout the country in lower-income areas. “The environment that [is created] for students says ‘you don’t matter, you’re not good enough,” she said.