Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rahm's new grad requirements an 'empty gesture'

Jermiya Mitchell, 17, a rising senior at Morgan Park High School on the South Side, said she has had few interactions with her guidance counselor. “We never had that conversation about life after high school,” she said. “I would like to have a counselor that really wanted to know what I wanted to do after high school and would help me get there.” (Washington Post)
With black and Latino youth unemployment in the city running at over 50% and the cost of college putting it of reach for most students, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has decided unilaterally, that kids without a job offer or college acceptance can no longer graduate from high school.

Oh yes, there's one exception to the new rule. Enlisting in the military can fulfill the graduation requirement. Chicago is now in position to become the nation's number-one military recruiter.

The ill-conceived and unenforceable plan now being imposed from above, without input from parents or educators, comes in the wake of Rahm's cutting hundreds of counselor positions throughout the district. Counselors are now reporting caseloads of up over 400. Morgan Park High School now has three guidance counselors and a college and career coach for about 1,300 students in grades seven through 12.

The Washington Post reports:
Critics say Emanuel’s idea is an empty gesture that does nothing to address the fact that many teenagers are graduating in ­impoverished, violence-racked neighborhoods with few jobs, or that the most readily accessible community colleges are ill-prepared to meet the needs of first-generation students from low-income families. They also point out that the 381,000-student district laid off more than 1,000 teachers and staff members in 2016, and it is in such difficult financial straits that it struggled to keep its doors open for the final weeks of the school year.
They quote CTU Pres. Karen Lewis:
 “It sounds good on paper, but the problem is that when you’ve cut the number of counselors in schools, when you’ve cut the kind of services that kids need, who is going to do this work? If you’ve done the work to earn a diploma, then you should get a diploma. Because if you don’t, you are forcing kids into more poverty.”
The Post reveals that Emanuel's plan was suggested to him by none other that Arne Duncan. No surprise there. It was Duncan, during his time as Chicago schools CEO and then as Obama's Sec. of Education, who practically invented top-down school reform. He forced massive school closings and their replacement with hundreds of privately-run charter schools. His failed Race to the Top plan set the stage for current Trump/DeVos assault on public education.

Hopefully, legislation for an elected school board will soon be passed, replacing mayor control of CPS before Emanuel's plan is ever implemented.

1 comment:

  1. This race-based policy is something you will never see in white suburban districts or in charter networks. Parents need to opt-out like we did on over-testing.


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