Inside Story Americas - Cutting classes

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There is outrage in Chicago over plans to close more than 50 public schools - most of them in poor and minority neighbourhoods.

Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the closures are tough but necessary in order to deal with a $1bn deficit and what he called "underutilised" schools. He also says the change is necessary to provide students with a better education.

But an analysis by the Chicago Sun-Times shows that just one-third of students will be sent to schools that are deemed to be better-performing.

And the majority of the school closures will be taking place in poor minority neighborhoods prompting critics, including the Chicago Teacher's Union, to call the policy "classist and racist".

So, what motivated the city's decision and what does it mean for the tens of thousands of students who will be forced to relocate?

To discuss this, Inside Story Americas with presenter Shihab Rattansi is joined by guests: Michael Klonsky, the national director of the Small Schools Workshop - a consulting firm helping school districts create smaller learning institutions; Jitu Brown, an education organiser at the Kenwood Oakland Community organisation; and Jason Richwine, a senior analyst at the Heritage Foundation which specialises in education policy.

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