By Micah Uetricht
Walking along bustling 47th Street in Bronzeville, a poor, almost entirely African-American neighborhood on the city’s South Side, Irene Robinson pointed out two men exchanging money in what looked like a drug deal, and sites where young men, including her godson, have been gunned down in recent years.
Her six grandchildren would pass these locations on Monday on their six-block walk to Mollison Elementary, the “receiving school” they were assigned to after their neighborhood school was closed. The path is among the city-designated “Safe Passage” routes for children who will be attending different schools because of a recent wave of closures.
“This is safe passage? No, this is murder city,” Robinson said, shaking her head.
Fourteen miles north, in the wealthier, majority-white Lakeview neighborhood, the school that Terry Culver’s children attend, Blaine Elementary, isn’t closing. But budget cuts have hit the school so hard that she worries its basic functions will be impossible.
“We don’t even have money to pay for books, or toilet paper,” Culver said. “They’re throwing these very basic things out the window.”
With Chicago’s new academic year beginning next week, many parents in neighborhoods across geographic, class and racial lines are concerned about their children’s education following two recent moves by the school system.