I live in the city of Chicago. Home to deep dish pizza, Al Capone legends, Michael Jordan’s Bulls, and of course, the infamous Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
Not too long ago the Chicago Teacher’s Union went on strike, protesting thier low salary, unfair teacher evaluations, large classroom size (CPS classrooms can get up to 50 students), and more.
They gained few concessions but one thing was clear: CPS had to change. A large portion of their schools cater to minority and low-income students, and what they have to offer just isn’t cutting it. There aren’t enough resources for the students, technology is rarely up to date, art and music are constantly being cut back due to budget cuts, there is no free transportation to school which is an issue for many kids, and much, much more.
And now, only a few days ago (March 20th, 2013), it was announced that over 50 CPS schools will be shut down next year, forcing thousands of students to switch schools which further increases their risk of dropping out. Not to mention the violence they already deal with on a day-to-day basis, with Chicago being one of the bloodiest cities in the nation for students.
It is severely unfair to CPS students that they must suffer from this kind of educational inequity and there is much debate surrounding where to go from here and how to effectively transform the Chicago public schools. However, we have yet to see where it all leads too.
CPS is in a dire situation and for that reason I feel honored to have the chance to make a difference in at least one school here – and in at least one student’s life.