With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, November 13, 2009

Inside Chicago's school "renaissance"

No "choice" for embattled Fenger kids

On Thursday, 10 students filed a federal lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools, alleging that their constitutional right to a public education is being denied because the district will not allow them to transfer and they fear going to Fenger in the wake of Albert's death and their own experiences with violence there.

Mayor Daley
says he's for school choice. But when parents and kids at embattled Fenger High asked to opt out, the Mayor's response was, "Fenger is a very good school."

Of course, Fenger was one of those schools where the entire teaching staff was swept out of their jobs (not by choice) under the Mayor's Renaissance 2010 "turnaround" and replaced by a new, inexperienced team that was taken by surprise by the violence which occurred outside their school that resulted in the death of Derrion Albert. Violence at the school has escalated since Daley closed Carver High and turned it into a selective-enrollment military school, scattering dozens of kids to schools like Fenger that were ill-prepared to receive them.
Tywon ended up at Fenger after his mother lost her assembly-line job with an auto parts manufacturer. At the time the single mother's priority was finding a place to live. By July, she was receiving government assistance and had moved her family of four from Calumet City to the Far South Side. During the rush to relocate she didn't have time to worry about which schools her kids would attend.

One district official advised her to declare Tywon homeless, because no school can deny or delay transfers of homeless children, she said. Another administrator recommended she use someone else's address to enroll him in a new school, she said. But a student who falsifies an address is subject to being moved back to the assigned school. (Tribune)

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