I’ve made a pledge not to overdo this blog by spending my whole weekend updating it, but this weekend it was tough. There were so many big stories and even some that were hopeful rather than depressing. I try not to dwell too much on the negative, but I also feel I have an obligation to try and get the truth out there. If you haven’t heard the This American Life episode about Harper High School, do yourself a favor and listen. This is part one of a two part story and the way it explains gangs in modern Chicago really hits home and shows why the current closings will spell disaster for so many of the city’s children.
I just learned of a walkout of 250,000 students in CPS over segregation and inequitable resources. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
“We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances. We found so many incredible and surprising stories, this show is a two-parter; Part One airs this week, Part Two is next week.”
“The early 1960s proved to be a turbulent time for African Americans due to the racist policies that limited their potential. One collective of voices that deserves more than a casual mention is Chicago’s “Freedom Day,” a protest involving thousands of Black students who demonstrated against segregation — and a lack of resources — in 1963.”
“No sooner had Chicago learned that Jennifer Cheatham was moving to Madison, Wisconsin, where she will become superintendent there, than the news began trickling out that other CPS administrators were also on the run — or at least looking for jobs in other climates. Cheatham had briefly (five years) hung around the nation’s third largest school system in various top dog jobs (most recently as our “Chief Instruction Officer”) doing quick change acts and perfecting a Power Point dance. Her last turn on stage was at the January 23, 2013, meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, where she schooled the seven members of the Board (only six were there) about how the “school calendar” had been finalized after lots of listening and all that other good stuff CPS has trained its fancy dancers to do when on the Big Stage.”
State Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) is urging a community group to file a lawsuit against Chicago Public Schools for not complying with a 22-year-old state law that requires all public elementary and high schools to include black history as part of its regular curriculum.