Research


The Collaborative for Equity and Justice in Education is a collaborative of faculty members and graduate students and community advisors/partners. We produce research that supports engagement and advocacy of school communities toward equity and justice in public schools. CEJE works in partnership with parents, students, teachers, and community organizations to conduct research and policy analysis, produce policy reports, and engage public discussions of education policy.

Current Research Project

Chicago School Closings: Experiences of Families, Students, and Communities

In May 2013, Chicago closed 49 public elementary schools. This action, decided by a mayor-appointed school board, was the largest school closure in US history. Since 2001, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has closed, turned-around, or consolidated over 150 neighborhood public schools, the vast majority in low-income African American and Latino communities.

There has been controversy and protest surrounding school closings in Chicago and throughout the nation. While proponents argue that closing schools can help the district consolidate resources and/or offer better educational opportunities to students, critics argue that school closures are part of a larger effort to privatize education and that massive school closures disrupt communities, jeopardize students’ safety, interrupt learning, and disproportionately harm students of color and students with special needs. Yet, despite both the increase in school closures and the controversy surrounding them, there is very little data available about the impact of school closings. Moreover, during the school closing process, parents repeatedly asserted that CPS provided inaccurate, missing, and shifting information and left them out of decision- making.

Chicago’s education reform agenda, and particularly the decision to close dozens of schools, is one of the most impactful and contested public policies in the city. Nonetheless, the trend of closing schools is increasing even though there is very limited data about the impact of such closings. While there are a few studies of the impact of school closings on student achievement, there is a need to document the impact of school closings on children, families, and communities from the perspectives of those directly affected.

The purpose of the Chicago School Closings research project is two-fold: 1) to document the impact of school closings on African American and Latino students, families, and communities in Chicago; 2) to share our findings with affected communities to inform their advocacy for educational policies they believe are in the best interests of their children. Communities need carefully researched and substantiated information to effectively advocate for their children.

To download research briefs and reports related to this project, please see the Publications page on this site. For more information, please contact Pauline Lipman, principal investigator, at plipman@uic.edu or Kelly Vaughan, project coordinator and lead researcher at kvaugh2@uic.edu.

This project is made possible with generous support from the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement (IPCE) and the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Learn about the research team here…