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Brizard Defends Decision To Close Or 'Turn Around' 17 Schools

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Improve schools by turning them around with a new leadership team, or close them; that was the message that the head of the Chicago Public Schools took to a South Side church congregation Sunday, following the school board's decision last week to close or "turn around" 17 schools.

Earlier in the weekend, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and the Rev. Jesse Jackson advocated the opposite viewpoint: keep schools open - and improve them by giving them more money.

But CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard said some of the best-funded schools still aren't performing.

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"They're still getting the lowest achievement in the city. That should give you the answer. Money does not solve the problem," he said. "It's getting a good team of people - principals, teachers together - to do what's right for kids. In some cases, we have to close (schools), in... most cases we do turnarounds."

Brizard spoke to reporters after addressing the Apostolic Church of God congregation on the South Side.

Brizard told the church, "There are some who are calling for a moratorium on school reform. I argue and I beg that we can no longer accept a status quo that has failed our students year after year – because that's exactly what has happened for decades."

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