this was my rant 6 years ago today…. so little has changed
October 8, 2009 at 10:49pm ·
SOME THOUGHTS ON Chicago Public Schools
Please be advised that the public school system in the city of Chicago has been broken for sometime. No on in a position of power has taken any real steps to implement real productive, proactive change, and I am now jaded enough to believe that they never will.
The elements required to most effectively educate children are not a mystery. 24 students per class- max, certified teachers with planning, thematic and cooperative cross grade/curricula opportunity, professional development opportunity, more than functional buildings and classroom with the requisite equipment, text and resources, high student performance expectations from teachers and parents, constructive, supportive parental involvement. keep in mind that there are schools in the system that meet these requirements, put they are not in the communities where students are literally warehoused until they can be passed onto the criminal justice and penal systems.
During my tenure as a CPS parent I have had kids at Lenart, Skinner, Harlan and Kenwood. Of my three children, only one is currently enrolled in a CPS school. As a child I attended Reavis, Wirth (now Cantor) and Lindblom. I will suggest strongly that CPS didn’t prepare me for college, my family did. further that at that time CPS didn’t actively work against that program that my parents implemented. that is no longer true and will state emphatically that CPS teachers, administrators and paper-pushers, now actively work against the positive academic ambitions of the family, particularly when the child is black and/or the school is located in a predominately black community.
This has been problematic for me, but is profane and obscene in communities where that average age of a first-time mother is 15 years. If the community is plagued by the absence of economic and educational opportunities, the schools have to fill in the gap. Add to this the destruction of federally funded programs designed to close the achievement gap during the Reagan, Bush and Bush administrations. On a local level, CPS has decimated early childhood education programs with proven track records. Currently there are few full day preschool programs, unless tuition based.
The 2010 programs, have forced students out of neighborhood schools, across gang lines, increasing the possibility of violence without improving test scores and graduation rates. New school are built only in areas that are experiencing eurpoean american gentrification, usually with TIFF funds. Transportation has been cut, limiting access to specialty school and programs. The list of roadblocks to education grows everyday to the extent that I consider “LEARNING WHILE BLACK”to be both and actionable offense by some and to be an appropriate rallying cry for others.
By way of refence I offer http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/content/publications.php?pub_id=86 – The Essential Supports for School Improvement
September 2006. Penny Bender Sebring, Elaine Allensworth, Anthony S. Bryk, John Q. Easton, and Stuart Luppescu
This and other articles at Consortium on Chicago Schools Research, identify trends, policies and requirements for academic success and document how CPS rarely acts proactively.
Finally, the matter is more disagreeable for me when the decision makers know better – former CPS CEO Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the Laboratory Schools at Uof C. Duncan sent his daughter to kindergarten at Ray in Hyde Park, but Mrs. Duncan spearheaded a collection for a teacher aide, to reduce the student to adult ratio. President Obama attended Punahou School, a private college preparatory school, from the fifth grade until his graduation from high school in 1979. His daughters attended Lab until moving to Sidwell Friends. mayor Richard Daley attended DeLaSalle. They all know about what makes a school work, how little of it has to do with finance and they allow this situation to persist.
Mortimer Adler – founder of the Great Books Program, spoke of the educational elite. This powerful group believes that if everyone receives the same quality education that they did and their children do… there will be no one to clean toilets and mow lawns. This premise is consistent that public schools where never intended to educate, but to train workers, initially from farm to factory. now from project to prison.
As I systematically move my children out of the system, i am sobered by the thought that no man is an island. What good is saving my kids when others fail? who will my sons ball and golf with?who will my daughter date? what woman will raise my grandchildren? who will be my daughters lifelong friends. This is not an altruistic moment, it is a selfish understanding that how I impact the life of any child, determines if she becomes my Doctor or the reason I need one!