So many good-minded folks I know are so focused on helping the most struggling kids and schools that it's easy -- or maybe necessary -- to forget some key things: what your average person thinks about the public school system, what it would take to get them to send their kids into it, and -- perhaps most important -- why the Mayor's efforts thus far haven't gotten us towards that tipping point.
It may be heresy to say it, but I think that getting these kids and parents back into the system is part of making things better for the kids who are currently in it.
Today's Sun-Times includes a column by Neil Steinberg that, in just a
few short sentences, captures many white-class (and white) parents' perspective. It's bracing -- but
it's also very real.
Why live in the
suburbs? It's elementary Sun-Times (Neil Steinberg)
"If it weren't for the
low quality of the Chicago Public Schools, I'd still be still living in
East Lake View, eating good Thai food, commuting to work by cab in 10
minutes, a happy man. But noooo. Because the choice was to stay, and a) shake the dice on getting a coveted slot in a magnet school, b) pony up ruinous tuition at a private school that
probably wouldn't let my kids in anyway or c) attend a crowded,
decaying, shabbily run CPS school. Or flee. So now I have to live in Northbrook, where they never heard of Thai food, and it takes an hour to get to work,
except on the mornings like today when the 8:16 is running late and it
takes an hour and a half."
Clearly it would take more than a few good
magnets and charters to get people like Steinberg back into CPS -- or
not to leave in the first place.
What I don't quite get is why the Mayor's much-criticized effort to do just that (Walter Payton HS, etc.) doesn't seem to have worked.
Filed under: Communities & CBOs