There are quite a few reasons I am personally excited about CEO Jean-Claude Brizard being at the helm of the Chicago Public Schools. One is his team’s fresh approach to a very old problem. Two is he has spark. Three his spark infects his team, thereby passing on this frenzy of hope to all of us.
40 years ago I was a Chicago Public School student. Kindergarten was a half day program. My parents often fought about what I was/was not learning. By first grade, I had been transferred to a neighborhood parochial school where I stayed until middle school. My parents petitioned for years until I was placed on a CPS waiting list to become eligible for lottery. All of this for entry into a magnet school. Thankfully luck was on my side, with maybe a little stalking on my mother’s part. These efforts secured that my future would be carved in the luxury of the “magnet” schools until I went to college. Many of my neighbors were not so lucky. Their futures ended up with them involved in gangs, drugs and dead-end lifestyles.
Chicago has traditionally been a very special place for education. Yes, revolutionary discoveries have been made here in Chicago. We are home to historic movements, monumental achievements, and many of these are from former Chicago Public Schools students. Unfortunately, it has always been a gamble though, with far too many suffering in the backdrop.
When I began having my own children in the 1990’s, every sacrifice at my disposal was made to A) make sure my children were learning B) make sure my children were safe while they were learning. This was never easy.
On top of that struggle, my being a law enforcement agent, has given me overall access to views outside of my own household. Not only am I concerned about the safety of my own family, but that of others and how their choices may impact the safety of those I love. Being in front of offending young people who are vibrant, intelligent, and capable BUT grossly misguided, not engaged, repeat offenders and usually dropouts is a great argument for longer school days. Statistics show that most occurrences involving young people occur after school. Having this knowledge made my excitement about the longer school day huge. Longer school days means keeping kids safer during “High Risk” times. More time to learn. More time for teachers to communicate. More efforts. More recess. More time spent also means higher scores! It is really a winning situation.
Announced this past Monday, Chicago Public School children will have approximately 390 minute school days. You can read about the changes HERE.
CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, in a discussion with area Chicago Moms, shared that being on this trajectory will improve literacy. The immediate goals are to give all Chicagoans access to quality schools. Better serving our students improves the community. Hopefully more students will enroll in college as well.
CEO Brizard also spoke at length about the language acquisition program encouraging non-native English speakers to bring up their skills. Literacy, literacy, literacy! Who can argue with that.
Many area moms believe that their schools are up to the task already. That may be the case in some areas, but not in others. I applaud this new administration’s efforts to make CPS cohesive and functioning on a high scale across the board. Having Mayor Rahm Emanuel actively supporting change is also encouraging.
What are your most pressing concerns for the Chicago Public Schools? Do you support the longer school day? If not, why?
Category: New Posts