Who is making the grade?

| November 14, 2011 | Comments (4)

When I got the wonderful news that I was expecting a bundle, I immediately put my zygote on the waiting list of a premier Chicago area day care. Sixteen years ago, that wait list was a year long. My then husband and our little family lived in Lakeview and did not have “clout” or high profile careers so we knew our chances were slim. Just HOW slim I had no idea!

Three years later, I was still checking on the status just for fun! By then I was divorced and had a brush with my higher being. I literally sat in my car on a rainy day and prayed out loud for a sign from above. Thankfully my mother-in-law watched my pearl of a son the first 2 years and I was able to nurse him on my lunch hours. But by the time he was 3, I needed a nurturing, but educating, environment. I had grown tired of reports of how he didn’t eat his peas. WAS HE LEARNING ANYTHING AT ALL was my question every day. I had taught him to read and write, but like most moms, I wanted him to reach his full capacity of educational excellence.

I found what I was looking for, but unfortunately, it was not in the Chicago Public Schools system. He is now an honors student at an area parochial school.

It is too late for the public school system to help my son. However, I supervise felons every day – young, smart, capable young men, many of color (mostly Black and Hispanic) and they have been failed. They have been at a loss from their humble beginnings. So when The Chicago Moms were invited for a sit down with area mom bloggers, CEO Brizard and his staff, I jumped at the opportunity – literally!

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was obviously proactive in choosing CEO Brizard and his team – they are remarkable. They have decades of being educators, community service moderators and statisticians. Our roundtable covered the new longer day, the amount we spend on each student ($9k) as opposed to other urban school systems, The Chicago Leadership Initiative and the pathways to reform. Most shocking was hearing – out loud – “nearly 50% of black males in CPS drop out” (Chicago Public Schools). I knew this from my work, but had I not been in that room full of people and rather reading about it, I would have sobbed.

That staggering number is unacceptable and should break every heart. Once recovered, every heart should stand up and fight for our children. Our kids, ALL of them, MUST make the grade starting now.

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Category: New Posts, Parenting, School

About Dwana: Dwana authors a few blogs, is a full-time officer of the court and mom to two wonderful young men and two dogs. You can find her rants, advice for healthy living and Chicago tips at: "Healthier, Happier, You!", Chicagonista.com, TheChicagoMoms.com & ChicagonistaLIVE.com View author profile.

Comments (4)

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  1. Natasha says:

    It’s deplorable for sure. The thing is, parents have to understand (as I’m sure you already do) that this small task doesn’t just fall on the teachers and administration. As a 31 year old parent of an 11 year old boy in the CPS, I am MAD. I hate going into the school every day to see parents treating school as a long term babysitting solution. Not supervising homework, or complaining about things that are going to help advance your children academically. We’re complaining about the wrong things. While field trips are pertinent to round out the learning process, that shouldn’t be the ONLY thing that chaps your hide because your school isn’t doing them. How about some science fairs, history fairs, learning how to properly write research papers, etc.

    What happened to school being FUN? I think that if we catered to our children a little more (of course while teaching) and stop trying to fit them ALL into the same box, that drop out rate would decrease dramatically and we could start attending more graduations instead.

  2. Dwana says:

    Natasha, such valid points. Reform has begun. Let’s keep this conversation going to make sure that all of the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted… Healthy minds, healthy bodies and a eager spirits should be Chicago’s goal.

  3. Lisa says:

    It’s not just the city either. I’m in the south suburbs and am too paying private school tuition because the public school stinks. I can’t in good conscious send my kids to a school that has cut music and art and is on year 2 of the No Child Left Behind watch list.

  4. Dwana says:

    Oh wow Lisa,

    I’m wondering how Illinois ranks, and especially the surrounding Chicagoland burbs, now.

    Seriously, what could be more important than educating young minds? We probably spend more housing felons than we do educating our children … lets all take a look and then be vocal!

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