Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

Reader 1

Lily Geismer

Reader 2

David Seitz

Reader 3

Claudia Bermúdez

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Julia G Thomason


In 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan to close 50 Chicago Public Schools. This was the largest mass closure to date across the country, and it had rippling, devastating effects throughout the district. This thesis looks at the language district and city officials used to justify the closures as a moment of educational crisis. It also looks at how the closures fit into a larger pattern of education policies that focus on profit and privatization instead of the people and students in schools. It also follows the historic precedent and continued organizing against this pattern from within communities, primarily in Black neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city, who were most affected by this and other similar policies. Ultimately, I argue that the closures were one of many intentional failures of the racist housing and education policies in Chicago, and we need to follow the lead of groups like KOCO and the CTU who are fighting for the schools Chicago’s students deserve.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.