Letter: ‘Fresh Start’ schools started under Lynch, not Stewart

[Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the Chicago Sun-Times more than a month ago. It has not been published].

February 27, 2008


The following letter was sent to Rosalind Rossi of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Hi Ros:

We appreciated your recent coverage of our petition drive. We have collected hundreds of signatures and will be announcing the final results at the March 5 CTU House of Delegates’ meeting, FYI.

I’m writing today to comment on yesterday’s story about the CTU calling for the union to run the threatened schools using the Fresh Start Program. You state the program started in 2005 and credited it with significant gains in student achievement. The Fresh Start Program, however, was begun by my team and I in 2003 as a response to the very first school closings. It was called the Partnership Schools Project and included most of the current Fresh Start Schools. (The Stewart team dropped Collins HS, however, and replaced it with CTU Vice President Ted Dallas’ school Wells HS in 2006).

The gains the current CTU group took credit for the other day were started by us. They renamed the project when they took over (since it had my fingerprints on it). They were unable to keep the language that our original agreement had that prevented Duncan from closing any CPS school unless and until it had the opportunity to become a Partnership School, with the additional time and resources to improve that that entailed. I just wanted to correct the record since Ms. Stewart took credit for our idea, our initial work with those schools, and the achievement gains I am delighted to see those schools have made.


Debbie Lynch

Teacher, Gage Park High School


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