Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sun-Times takes a tour of 'underutilized' school. Guess what they find?

“Our guarantee is that no child will go to a school that is lesser performing than the school that they’re in,” Byrd-Bennett explains, adding that for many years students have been “trapped in under-utilized and under-resourced schools.” 
The S-T editorial board goes from classroom to classroom at supposedly "half-empty" Garvey Elementary and finds every one of them in use.
 In fact, during a visit on Monday to the school, where colorful and neatly displayed student projects and artwork line bright yellow walls, we didn’t see a single room going unused. Garvey has air-conditioned classrooms, a well-stocked library, a garden, an art room, a computer lab, several small science labs and the kind of discipline and order in the classroom and hallway that tell a visitor this school has its act together. 
“They’re taking kids from a calm, family environment and putting them in a stressed one,” says Garvey parent, Krista Thomas. “This is not a wasteland.” (Kate N. Grossman photo) 
None of that seems to matter to Rahm's hand-picked school board which has been given its marching orders to vote in May, to close Garvey and send its students to ill-equipped and lower-performing Mt. Vernon, several blocks away.

The party line, shaped carefully in the office of CPS Liar-in-Chief Becky Carroll, is that students are "trapped" in small, "failing" neighborhood schools and that consolidation will "liberate" them. Rahm uses that "trapped" line in every speech. BBB faithfully repeats it. As does board-member Andrea Zopp as she grasps at straws trying to deal with the research presented by CReATE's Stephanie Farmer on Channel 7's Newsviews.

 But listen to what the touring S-T editorial board members have to say:
On our visit, children sure didn’t look “trapped,” as the mayor and the schools chief like to say about students in under-enrolled schools. We didn’t see much flab, either. On a tour of the small building with a parent — the principal wasn’t involved — we saw an intimate school making good use of its space. Parents at many other schools, including Trumbull and Courtenay, also are making good cases for their schools.
The descriptors here, small and intimate, rather than underutilized, are telling. This is the language of the early (pre-charter) small schools movement which identified intimacy (knowing kids well), and personalization,  as keys to successful learning experiences and saw schools as learning communities, rather than brick and mortar.

All this makes you wonder how much of underutilization is a myth and how much is real? What's really behind Rahm's closing of 54 schools, nearly all in the black community? Is Rahm presiding over the continued whitenizing of Chicago? More to come on this.

1 comment:

  1. I am so disappointed that the Democrats are as much against public education as the Republicans.

    How do we stop these outrageous endeavors to destroy public education and democracy?


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