Thursday, October 17, 2013

The choosiest mayors choose choice

We're no psychologists here at Windy City Teachers, we're no Dr. Phil, but we are used to helping people get the help they need. Clearly, Rahm Emanuel made a cry for help today when Chicago's Plan Commission approved zoning to open up another Noble Street Chain School across the street from Prosser Career Academy, a selective enrollment school in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood.

There are many people who want to help Rahm get the help he so desperately needs: parents who didn't ask for a charter school to open in their neighborhood for one, Alderman Nick Sposato whose ward will inherit Prosser in 2015, and likely the staff at Prosser who find a job preferable to no job.

The unbuilt school will cost about $20 million to construct. Not to worry, darlings, it will all be privately funded. We think CPS is showing their hand a bit, because even though "official" approval has yet to be given by CPS, the campus is set to open next fall. What's "official" in the age of choice? We can see why CPS is so eager to green light this school. Right now it can promise:
  • Parking spaces for 32 cars.
  • An athletic field.
Wowee!! The choosers must be going nuts over those lavish amenities the Noble spokesperson felt at liberty to disclose.

Compare that to the currently functioning Prosser and the programs it offers right now that make their students employable:
  • Product-Market Entrepreneurship
  • Computer Programming and Technology
  • Chefs Culinary Arts
  • Graphic Design
  • Graphic Communication
  • Modern Machine Technology
  • Construction Technology
  • Cabinet making
  • HVAC
  • Automotive Technology
  • Auto Body Repair
While some of these choices may seem unrefined and decidedly untrendy for the choice crowd, they are jobs that will keep people steadily employed and give those talented and driven enough a chance to own their own business.

While we don't know if there's a cure for Rahm's condition, we humbly suggest immersion therapy where the patient is slowly exposed to that which they fear. In this case, Rahm should visit successful public schools like Prosser to see what they do right and how the city can best invest in this school and other neighborhood schools.  Maybe then he'll see the neighborhoods and students our public schools serve deserve better than they're getting from the city. 

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