School closings are still a big issue

Even though the February municipal election is over, the work of the few continues.

Later this month the Chicago Public Schools will announce the next schools to be closed by the Chicago Board of Education. The CPS will later recommend the closed schools to reopen with new operators (mostly non-profits secretly supported by private business) per Mayor Daley’s Renaissance 2010 policy. The stated purpose of Renaissance 2010 is to close underperforming schools and convert those schools into 100 new small (600 students max) schools.

The February election pretty much validated Renaissance 2010, regardless of the increase in violence at the schools the redirected students now attend, the lack of a pool of qualified school operators, the quality of inexperienced teachers actually hired by the school operators, and that very few schools (Carpenter) in Hispanic communities are closed.

Once the CPS announces the schools closing, it will be a waste of time to protest, march, and meet. To date, the Chicago Public Schools has not reversed a school closing decision. The best an impacted school community can do is to fight for a seat at the table to monitor that future operators actually offer a school better than the closed school.

Renaissance 2010 was not a “hot” campaign issue. With all the factual information available about the poor Renaissance 2010 planning, both incumbents and their opponents were not talking about education. The Chicago Teachers Union did not even make a strong effort to inform the public about the increase in violence against teachers at the schools receiving redirected students.

For the immediate future, the community should focus on lobbying our state representatives to support HB200. This legislation will give the community true input on whether schools should close and require that students from closed schools are redirected to better-performing schools.

Dwayne Truss

Are we ready to vote for the best presidential candidate?

I am hearing a lot of distraction about Barack Obama running for the president of the United States of America. Some are saying he is not black enough. Others are saying he is not white enough. And others are saying he is not ready enough. The big question is: Are the citizens of America ready enough to vote for whoever the person may be who we feel can get us out of the condition we are in?

I hope we are.

Webb Evans
President, United American
Progress Association