StoryCorps is partnering with The School Project, a six-part documentary series on public education releasing six segments over the 2014-2015 school year. As a whole, this series explores the local perspectives on recent mass school closings in Chicago, the expansion of charter schools, the controversy surrounding standardized testing, school discipline policies, and the history of reforms and educational models. StoryCorps is incredibly excited to colloborate with such an important project, as we work to record and share the personal stories of people in the Chicago area on the issues surrounding public education.

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Want to learn more? The second installment of this series “Chicago Public Schools: Closed,” will premiere January 22nd! This short documentary follows Rousemary Vega, a parent turned activist, through the maze of hearings and protests that preceded the largest school closings in American history. “Chicago Public Schools: Closed” features major figures in public education–Terry Mazany, Linda Lutton, Andrea Zopp, Karen Lewis, David Vitale, and Jitu Brown–who help connect the dots between decades old education policies, demographic shifts, and the challenges facing CPS today. You can hear the StoryCorps interview from WBEZ when the schools originally closed in 2013.

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Photos by Bill Healy

For those of you in the Chicago area, this film will premiere with a free public screening in the Performance Hall at the University of Chicago Logan Center on Thursday, January 22 at 6:30pm. The screening will be followed by a presentation of new research on school closings by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research and a subsequent panel discussion moderated by Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times. Interested? The event is FREE and all can RSVP here.

StoryCorps wants to help record your own experiences with school closings. Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, community member, we want to hear how school closings have impacted you. How has your neighborhood changed? How have your children been effected? What is the social environment of your new school like now? Make your appointment on our website today! Just mention “The School Project” during your StoryCorps recording to our facilitators to be included!

From our StoryCorps in Chicago team member, Andre Perez.

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