Is CPS closing additional West Side schools?

Crane, Marshall, and Manley high schools, watch your backs. Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan on Oct. 22, announced his recommendation to the Chicago Board of Education to approve the creation of 20 new schools under the Renaissance 2010 Plan. The controversial initiative is Mayor Daley’s corporate developed plan to partially privatize public education. Fifteen of the new schools expecting board approval are high schools. Five are elementary schools. Of the 15 high schools, nine are scheduled to open fall of 2009. A new high school is scheduled to open in East Garfield Park (Urban Prep Academy for Young Men) and West Garfield Park (Chicago Talent Development High School) respectively at ’09 sites to be determined. Since CPS has cited its lack of capital improvement dollars, and with the fall 2009 timeline pending, it is improbable that CPS will be able to acquire and renovate existing buildings. As a result, I believe it is-and I hope I am wrong-a high probability CPS will phase out an existing high school. CPS will then phase in a new Renaissance 2010 high school with capital improvement dollars to follow. Also on the Board of Education’s agenda is approval of Academy for Urban School Leadership, Victory Schools Inc., and Chicago RISE to serve as turnaround providers. The turnaround model is when both the principal and staff are removed and must reapply for a position with the provider or find another job. I have to give CPS “cools points” in learning from its mistake of closing high schools and forcing students elsewhere. When CPS converted Orr High School, there was strong, organized community opposition, yet, the turnover still happened. Until there is a clear will by parents and the community to oppose privatizing predominantly African-American schools, CPS will believe it is doing the right thing because it has political cover. The principals and staff of the schools I mentioned may want to update their resumes.

Dwayne Truss

Devontae will be missed

I went to school with (Devontae Green), and I just wanted to say that because of his life and legacy [Austin police officer’s son dies, Oct. 30]. People loved him and his personality. When I do go, which I hope doesn’t come soon, I wish that people will remember me like they did him; nothing but good things to say. I loved Devontae. He always had me smiling! I was talking to him at school and he was cheesing hard as ever. Every time I saw him he had a positive attitude. That’s why everyone loved him. Devontae, you will be missed.

Maryiah Blake
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Palin and McCain make mockery of autism issue

Well done column [Palin talks up autism but was it too late for campaign?, Oct. 30, Robert Felton]. The McCain/Palin campaign has failed on many levels. As a mother with a 5-1/2 year-old son with autism spectrum disorder, the fact that the whole autism issue was the very last item addressed in their campaign-after all of the slandering against Mr. Obama-is insulting. It reeks of insincerity and pandering to segment of our population, assuming that it is so desperate to get help that any mention of autism, in whatever context, is enough to get them excited. Couple this with the thought that because of Mr. McCain’s and Ms. Palin’s wealth and political power, they will never have to beg, borrow or steel for services for their special needs kids as most of us have had to do. They can actually afford to have the therapist come to their house, do their work, and submit reports to their respective aides. They can afford the luxury of being none the wiser about the nitty-gritty aspects of their children’s therapeutic needs and treatments. Or, of being inconvenienced by running around town to make it to their child’s weekly appointments that meet the therapist’s schedules and not necessarily yours. And I’m sorry; having a nephew with autism does not necessarily make you an expert on autism. I have four brothers and a sister and not one of them fully understands what it is and what I am dealing with, despite the fact that I am not very quiet about the matter. In fact, it’s been about 3 years since my son has been diagnosed. One of my brothers still confuses it with dyslexia. My brother is a great guy but it’s not his child, so it is not where his focus is. His focus is on his own children and they don’t have autism.

Laurie Sanderson Doran
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Jesus was no ‘community organizer’

Amazing that you would call Jesus a “community organizer” [Don’t diss organizers, Oct. 2, Bob Vondrasek]. Presumably, this is to then equate Obama with being a messiah. I doubt that you’d mock the religions of Native Americans, or the made-up holiday of Kwanza. Yet, you are quite content in your elitist way to mock Christ. Why not go further and call him a health care worker-he healed the sick, didn’t he? You and the Obama “red guard” can try and foist this idea onto people, but anyone (and I happen not to even be Christian) who can read Christian texts knows that neither Jesus nor his followers considered him a “community organizer.” He considered himself the son of God. He believed that if you didn’t believe in him, you were destined for hell. That may also be what community organizers believe in, I’m sure, but that still doesn’t mean Jesus believed (or was) that.

Tracey Brougher
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More businesses can learn from your example

I think it is great how you are giving back to the community [Corner store teaches youth about business, Oct. 9]. Giving youth a chance to learn that there is much more to life than gang-banging, drugs, and violence-more people should be like you. Keep up the great work.

Marsha Phillips

Palin turning off independents

I tend to agree with where your argument is going [Palin talks up autism but was it too late for campaign?]. The more intellectually-appealing candidates are getting more attention. Gov. Palin could have won over a lot of independent voters (like myself) if she had tried harder to draw us in with ideas on how to make things better rather than fanning partisan flames. Divisive politics is starting to backfire.

Nabil Yazdani
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