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Chicago Will Hold Diplomas Hostage Unless Teens Can Prove They Have Plans After High School

But critics say underfunded mandates will only add to the problems already plaguing public education in the Windy City.

The adage, “To whom much is given, much is expected,” can’t just apply to high school graduates.

Beginning with the class of 2020, all Chicago Public School students who meet traditional academic requirements necessary to graduate must also present a post-graduation plan before they can cross the stage to receive their diploma. Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and the city’s Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson hope to raise a million dollars for the “Learn. Plan. Succeed” initiative to add eight additional counselors to 172 high schools that teach almost 110,000 students. Chicago Public Schools have reported to the mayor’s office since 1995. But critics rightly point out that underfunded mandates like this one will only add to, not alleviate, the problems already plaguing Chicago schools.

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Education

My Black Stepson Is Proof That Our Schools Put White Culture First

We could raise student test scores by 11% if schools thought more about how everyone learns best.

My stepson’s inability to read because of a disability didn’t lessen my expectation that his school teach him.

Anyone with a child who has an intellectual or learning disability knows that learning entails much more than knowing how to read, write, and compute. The absence of literacy doesn’t mean that he can’t learn skills essential to becoming a productive member of society. I enrolled my stepson in a high school in New Orleans based on where I felt his social and emotional needs would best be met.

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Education


Closing schools has become an almost reflexive, corporate solution to a complex fiscal and social problema problem to which no one has found a satisfying answer.

Districts shutter, sell, or destroy physical properties typically for fiscal reasons. Districts also terminate contracts of poor-performing service providers to make way for new leaders who most often radically rearrange the organs of a schoolmaking it in essence a new school. In either case for students, alumni, and family members, closing a school can feel like excommunicating a grandfather to the wilderness to save money.

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The NEA Foundation recently celebrated recepients of their Awards for Teaching Excellence, but people of color literally weren't in the crowning finalist's picture.

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What Should Schools Teach When Students Are Being Murdered?

Shouldn't schools explicitly teach students how to get home safely with the same level of rigor and accountability as in a science lesson?


Last fall, Terrence Roberts became the fifth student from the same high school in New Orleans to be killed by gunfire in a six-month stretch. Just one murder in a school can dramatically alter its community, identity and academic trajectory, but what does school become after a sordid span of five murders? What lessons should be taught? What goals should the teachers and students work toward?

Philosopher John Dewey famously said, "Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." Unfortunately, the deaths of students at NET Charter High School accentuate the point that schools and curricula should never be so focused on the abstract future that they ignore social contexts, economic forces and—unfortunately—the guns that students face in the here and now.

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Why Is Neighborhood-Based Discrimination Still Acceptable?

Neighborhood-based discrimination seems to be the socially acceptable means to exercise our unconscious and conscious biases.

With the recent anniversary of the March on Washington, we're reminded that the civil rights era fought racial injustice that was codified into law. White Americans carried undeniable privileges that blacks and other ethnic groups did not share. Today, however, the battle lines can be more easily drawn on a map than on a person skin. According to a series of health equity reports generated by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, place-based discrimination may replace race as the primary unit of analysis in our examinations of social progress.

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