Operating half-empty schools needless costs money that could be better used to educate students in schools with enough students to offer a range of academic offerings. When private schools have too few students in their buildings, they close.
The idea that so many students in these closing schools are poor, and of color, begs a number of questions. Are they being served? What are the outcomes for them? Would keeping the same schools open somehow put them on the path to happy, successful lives?
I predict the answer is no. Nostalgia about the names of schools is no replacement for schools that actually fulfill their mission: to educate children and prepare them for successful lives in the American economic mainstream.
Further, the argument about replicating the University of Chicago School is troublesome. How exactly should public schools replicate a selective admissions school? The idea that remediation or supposedly joyless "drill and kill" schooling is something the wealthy would never endure for their own kids is silly. If their kids become three grade levels behind and it threatens their future in the first class, you better believe it would be "drill baby drill" or anything that would put their kids back on track.
Emotive arguments built upon maintain a way of life (jobs in half-empty schools) should not stop adults from doing what needs to be done for kids.