Kings and Queens

Kings and Queens is an exploration of inequity and a view into resilient communities on the south side of Chicago. Irene Robinson, an activist and grandmother, navigates the aftermath of a school closing in her neighborhood while coming face to face with the harm resulting from policies and decisions that are at the heart of school privatization. Learn more about the issues in the film and get engaged at

In 2013, the city of Chicago closed 50 of its public schools, the largest single closing of schools in any district in U.S. history. What happened to the students that attended those schools? What message did those closings have for students and their parents? Kings & Queens is the story of Irene Robinson (called “Miss Irene” by all who know her), a Chicago native and grandmother whose neighborhood school was shuttered in 2013.

Miss Irene’s story is one of resilience on the long road to justice. She describes how her grandchildren’s school was closed despite outcries from parents and community members, and shares the pain of her grandchildren thinking that their school closed because they were “too dumb.” Kings & Queens explores the harm that follows school closings, and the ways in which institutional racism and a lack of accountability create conditions for neighborhood schools to be starved and closed.

Miss Irene’s fight for justice was catalyzed by love for her grandchildren, but it continues because she believes that each and every child has a right to an education. Watch the film to see what school closings look like from the perspective of a family that has depended on their neighborhood school for generations.

Kings and Queens was directed by Manauvaskar Kublall, MediaSutra, and created in collaboration with the Partnership for the Future of Learning.  

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Keywords: Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago School Closings, School Closings, Public Education, Public Schools, Education Justice, Education Activism, School Privatization

Tweet: Ms. Irene Robinson is a grandmother to 18 children and she’s fighting for the life of her community in the aftermath of a school closing. #EducationJustice. #FutureforLearning

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