Letter: The Horror of Chicago's ‘High School Transformation’

December 19, 2007


I will be unable to attend today’s CPS meeting. Attempting to get down there in time, and so early, to sign up to speak is always challenging for me, but I am using a cane now making this effort difficult, and painful, these days. I find standing some days very uncomfortable.

I do plan to take part more often in 2008. I take copies of Substance to other meetings to distribute. Recently the December meeting of the Chicago NAACP — Southside branch’s meeting and workshop. Those unfamiliar with Substance are blown away with its content, style and, actually, substance of the articles. Two stated they plan to subscribe (hope so) — one is a banker and the other has started a national program to mentor black, male students.

Then I took other copies (and passed them out to table mates) to Senator Dick Durban’s (sponsored) breakfast at the prestigious Union Club where Arne Duncan introduced CPS’ new high school program and his plans to reduce the city’s high drop-out rate (fat chance). These plans seem insipid to me. CPS is trying to emulate the success of five other high schools — including Whitney Young, Walter Payton, and Northside College Prep (I do not remember the others).

As Substance continues to point out despite all the money “wasted” on small schools, charter schools, military schools, and so on, their dropout rates remain high and achievement scores mirror the nearby neighborhood schools.

That very evening one of Channel 11’s programs featured a gentleman who spoke to the same issues and brought out these same facts. Did you see that program by any chance — or do you know who that was (or how I can find out?)?

I will be in touch.

Take care,

Sharonjoy Jackson

Chicago, Illinois


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