A few days ago we wrote to you about radio and television ads sponsored by outside interest groups that have been airing for many months. Many of you emailed us back with questions and comments. Here’s a link to the Chicago Tonight interview that we referenced. Watch this important conversation with Bruce Rauner, one of the leaders in the education “reform” community in Chicago, Please take five minutes to watch this.
Some parents seem to still be viewing education issues through the lens of either all pro-CPS or pro-CTU. We ask that you try and get out of that mindset. Instead ask yourselves why the person in this interview -- or any other single individual -- should have so much access to the Mayor and potential influence in education policy when numerous parent groups and education experts throughout the city could not get a meeting with him all year. It troubles us that there is a belief that “blowing up” the public education system and turning our schools into small networks of charters and contract schools is a popular thought among some in the ed reform community.
Many parents in CPS have been working their tails off for years to strengthen and build their public schools, often because resources and supports are lagging from Central Office and Springfield. Many parents believe that a strong neighborhood school is the anchor in their community. If you believe this, ask yourself why parents down the road or across the city should not have the same right. We are living in a city with vast economic differences. In some Chicago neighborhoods, the unemployment rate is as high as 30%. 87% of our students in CPS qualify for free and reduced lunch. Every child should have the right to walk to their own neighborhood school if they choose. CPS talks about “choice” -- but many neighborhoods have lost that choice as traditional schools have been closed, and families will continue to lose this option if certain “reformers” have their way. The problems underlying performance at CPS are complex and deep. The solutions should not be dictated by a small group of wealthy reformers who want to “blow things up.” Solutions need to be discussed and debated with dialogue from all sides. We certainly don’t want the direction of the district determined by a small group of people personally disconnected from our schools.
We believe we need democracy in education at CPS with a range of voices at the table.
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