There are a few things I’ve learned from watching movies that I think provide valuable lessons for anybody thinking of running an urban school district. It may be easy to slam this easily acquired knowledge as being insufficient. We’re sending a whole lot of people off to run big school districts whose knowledge comes from watching Freedom Writers.
The first thing I learned is that you never build on an Indian Burial ground. IF you do this, your school will undoubtedly be haunted. If you have seen Poltergeist, you can already see some of the liability issues with students getting trapped in television sets and being chased by ghosts who want to do them harm. Fortunately, I am reasonably confident that CPS would not knowingly build a school on a Native American burial ground.
Building a school on an old toxic dump would also be a horrible idea. If you watch movies like Erin Brockovich you are probably more worried about students and teachers developing serious maladies, If you watch movies like The Toxix Avenger, you are more concerned with rampaging students who are mutated by the toxins. Unfortunately, CPS seems ready to ignore reports of toxic waste in order to construct a build a new school near the Indiana border. A new school is seriously needed in the area to fight overcrowding, but I would like to think that safety would be a consideration.
“Preliminary environmental tests conducted last year at the proposed construction site found unsafe levels of chemicals in the soil and a leaking underground gasoline storage tank, reports the Chicago Tribune.”
“It marked the third straight day that a mayor who closed nearly 50 public schools, most of them on the South and West Sides, has announced plans to build new schools and expand existing ones.”
“I asked folks if they had any good stories from their schools, and parents were happy to oblige. You know why? Because most folks love their schools. They love the community culture of their schools. They love the opportunities the schools offer. They love the kindness, empathy, and professionalism of their teachers. They love their grant-writing, penny-wringing, hope-clinging principals who never say die.”
“A possible vote could lift those limits, and mean that a teacher could have 17 students requiring special attention in a class of 35. That idea scares Laurie Viets, whose 4-year-old son is autistic, and goes to Beard Elementary School on the Northwest Side. The school exclusively serves special needs children.”
“At a college-wide block party on Aug. 29, grad students and local teachers passed out leaflets reading, “Why would CEHD partner with an organization that claims that working class students of color do not need well-trained, career teachers?” Several were approached by the dean, who called the leafletting “inappropriate” and threatened to call campus security if they didn’t stop.”
“The Vallas allies who lost last week were Democrats endorsed by the state Democratic Party and town Democratic committee and backed by the mayor. In a nearly 10-to-1 Democratic city, the primary winners are all but guaranteed to win the November elections and team up with Working Families Party members to form an anti-Vallas majority on the nine-member school board.”