My Chicago Public Schools Students Give Trump’s Border Wall Address High Grades, Unfortunately

Trump focused on evoking anxiety, heartache, horror, distress, exasperation.  And my students disappointedly began to conclude that Trump achieved his rhetorical purpose: To convince Americans that there is a crisis at the border and funding for a wall should be approved so the government shutdown can end. “He makes this sound so simple,” Jose said. ... Read more »

Michelle Obama's Becoming misleads today's teens about success

The worst piece of advice those of us in our 40s or older can tell teenagers is this: “If I did it, you can do it.” Who knows? In the past 23 years of teaching in the Chicago Public Schools, maybe I said it to my students. But success requires more than ambition and hard work. Here’s... Read more »

More colleges need to follow DePaul University's example to help first-generation students

More colleges need to follow DePaul University's example to help first-generation students
I’ve never agreed with the “college for all” movement.  College is not for everyone and everyone is not for college. But for those students who do feel fulfilled being in a classroom or for those who see a degree as a path toward something better, college is for them–especially if they’re a first-generation college student... Read more »
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I hope dancing flamenco gives my daughter a lifetime of confidence

I hope dancing flamenco gives my daughter a lifetime of confidence
I could watch my daughter dance for centuries. Four years ago, when she was six, she and I began our weekly trek from the Southwest side to a flamenco studio in Logan Square.  Studio Mangiameli was where my daughter learned to follow the flow of a guitar’s strum and the echoes of patterned hand claps.... Read more »

"Foster Kid" in Chicago Public Schools reminds teachers and schools to be supportive

As part of a journalism project, my Chicago Public Schools student Gabriel wrote about his experience as a student in foster care.  This is his editorial. Most people when they hear “foster kid” assume they have problems, and that something’s wrong with them.  But that is not the case at all. They could be the nicest and... Read more »

Top Chicago Public Schools students says: Get rid of class rank

Report cards in the Chicago Public Schools will be handed out to parents and guardians next week.  Even though high school class rank won’t be determined until the end of second quarter, my Chicago student Andres Valencia says CPS should stop ranking students based on grade point average.  This is his guest post: I’m in... Read more »
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Northwestern University graduate tells Chicago Public Schools students not to isolate themselves

Northwestern University graduate tells Chicago Public Schools students not to isolate themselves
In June, Northwestern graduate Osbeyda Navarette delivered the keynote speech at the Hancock College Prep commencement ceremony.  As the first Hancock alumna to earn a degree from this highly selective college, this first-generation college student gave Chicago Public Schools graduates insight into world outside their teen experience. What I appreciated most about this speech was the... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools students react to Jason Van Dyke trial

When possible, relevant, and appropriate, my Chicago Public Schools students apply what we learn about writing to real-world controversies.  Today, they examined the opening statements of the Jason Van Dyke trial, where a white Chicago police officer is on trial for the murder of 17-year-old African American Laquan McDonald. We listened to a few segments... Read more »

Former Chicago Public Schools teacher discusses the importance of self-care

Former Chicago Public Schools teacher discusses the importance of self-care
As part of a project between Chicago Public Radio and the Teacher Project at at Columbia University Journalism School, a few local teachers shared stories of learning from their students. My friend and former Chicago Public Schools colleague Lisa Ehrlich discusses the importance of caring for ourselves as we teach students with complicated lives.  Click... Read more »
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Chicago Public Schools teacher discusses the importance of mentorship on Vocalo Radio

Thank you to Vocalo Radio for inviting me to be part of their “This Is What Chicago Sounds Like” series, a series that captures the diversity of our city. Chicago has shaped my life by instilling in me the idea that must use my intellect to help people.  So I try to use my writing... Read more »