Thursday, June 15, 2017

Even Trumpsters can see holes in Rahm's school plans

Robeson H.S. on the chopping block. 
It's getting hard to tell who's worse on school issues these days, Donald Trump or Rahm Emanuel.

Trump's appointment of Betsy DeVos as ed secretary and his pumping $20B into so-called "choice" programs while making draconian cuts to public ed, certainly keeps his hold on the worst spot locked in for now. Arguably the worst ever.

But Trump still needs legislative and judicial support for his assaults on all things public while Rahm is able to carry out similar attacks through his autocratic control over CPS. The effects are just as chilling.

No need to rehash Rahm's devastating history of mass closings of public schools in Chicago's black community. He's still at it , like a one-trick poney, with 4 high schools in Englewood and the National Teachers Academy in South Loop now on the chopping block. They'll be replaced in theory by new, large, expensive megaschools.

Past school closings, where carried out by overriding mass opposition expressed in dozens of community meetings. The closing of every high school in Englewood  is now a fait accompli, without the benefit of community forums. A few are planned, after the important decisions have been made.

Mass closings in the past haven't saved much money for the district. They have created more neighborhood blight and added to the threat of more gang violence.

Then there's Rahm's new mandates for high school graduation which even the Trumpies can see through. Last month, Rahm's hand-picked school board approved making the class of 2020 jump through more bureaucratic hoops which include making them show proof they've been accepted into college or the military, or a trade.

This from Tuesday's Sun-Times:
WASHINGTON — [Anti] Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta panned Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new high school graduation requirement, in which seniors will have to prove they are heading to college, the military, a trade or a job in order to get a diploma — saying Monday that a student should have a choice — not a mandate.
Acosta has some food for thought. Since Emanuel has no money to throw to CPS to help the 41 percent at-risk students figure out their post-high school plans, why deny them the high school degree they otherwise, under the old requirements, earned?
Good point, Acosta -- even though made on shaky ground since you are part of the reason there's no money "to throw" at public education. But there's no reason to make 17-year-olds "prove" they are going into the military, college or the job market in order to get their diploma. Especially now that CPS has fired hundreds of teachers and counselors and have done nothing to make college affordable and have one of the nation's highest black and Latino youth unemployment rates. 

CPS's job is to provide educational opportunities for all of its 350,000 students. It's not Rahm's or the board's job to serve as military recruiters or brokers of a cheap labor supply for Chicago companies.

1 comment:

  1. And now CPS has lowered the standards for "graduating" 8th graders...instead of a C as the bottom rung for entry into HS, it's now a D. How does this help struggling students?


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