I'm sure he will be trying to turn the local focus away from school closings (mandated under his Race To The Top), UNO corruption, more local pols going to prison, and the pension grab, and onto gun control -- an issue that even do-nothing Dems somehow claim as their own.
|Protesting parents at Chalmers last night|
Congressional Dems are already caving in to the NRA on an assault weapons ban and multi-round clips. Neither were even mentioned in the president's SOTU speech. Obama needs to be in D.C. right now, pushing for a national ban on assault weapons, not in Chicago trying to pull Rahm's chestnuts out of the fire. We don't need any more hand-wringing speeches about gun violence. Less talk, more action!
Parents on the west and south sides, from Lawndale to South Shore, know that the closing of hundreds of neighborhood schools, more charter expansion and shipping thousands of students across town to suddenly overcrowded schools, will only add to neighborhood destabilization and lead to even more violence as it has done in the past. This despite Byrd-Bennett's assurances that she and Chief McCarthy have got all that covered.
The Sun-Times editorial board is worried:
We worry about the “welcoming schools” that are to take in displaced students. Those schools won’t be identified until late March, giving them little time to prep for a huge influx. Plus, half the kids may end up at other schools that aren’t even expecting them. Just 48 percent of students from four schools closed last year enrolled in their “welcoming school.” One school sent kids to 45 different schools, about half of them no better academically than the one they left behind. It’s pretty hard to offer special supports for thousands of kids spread across CPS.
|Rita McNeal, a 5th grade teacher at Mason Elementary.|
“Now you’re going to destabilize these children again. It’s not right.” -- Ald. Pat Dowell
“It’s common sense. How can we say we have 100,000 empty seats, we’re broke, yet we keep opening schools? We have no business opening schools." -- Ald. Matt O'Shea
"The list should be zero. There should be no schools closed this year. They haven't made the case. The process has been corrupt from the get-go, and they need to stop it in its tracks right now." -- Erica Clark with the group Parents 4 Teachers.
“Everywhere you go there are a lot of gangs and guns and violence, and now they want to send our kids into unfamiliar streets they don’t even know.” -- Janice Thompson, who has twin six-year-olds at Crown Elementary School.Early childhood expansion
Change of topic: My concerns about Obama's otherwise badly-needed call for the expansion of early childhood education is that with the present crew running the DOE, this will mean spending millions more on the testing and re-testing of 4-year-olds and even bigger contracts for the testing companies. I'm also concerned that the early childhood expansion will be run as a competitive grant process like Race To The Top, or as a giant, federally-funded, privately-run charter school operation, rather than on the basis of need and equity.