An eloquent defense of school choice in Chicago.

The systemic racism of Chicago’s public school system, as explained by John Kass.

Charter public school students, parents and advocates rally in 2014 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago in support of choice. Hear them.  (Anthony Souffle / Chicago Tribune)

If you want to talk about “systemic racism”, you need look no further than the Chicago Public School system and its overseer, the Chicago Teachers Union, Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass argues in his brilliant column this morning. (“Want to end urban hopelessness? Support real school choice.”)

The CTU virtually runs the system (and will be even a more powerful overseer when the school board gets elected). I suppose that wouldn’t matter if Chicago public schools were a howling success.

Far from it. If you think that disproportionately alone defines racism, then look at the disproportionate negative results for black children who pass through this racist system: The disproportionate number of failing students, the students who don’t graduate or go on to college, the absent students and the dropouts.

And the declining enrollment, the result of families trying to escape the violence and the number of parents finding a better educational experience for their children.

It’s a school system run for all of its “stakeholders” (teachers, administrators, vendors, contractors, etc.) except for the main one–the students. And those in control are making damn sure that only a few can escape. For example, the CTU has successfully “negotiated” a cap on the number of charter schools that are offering that escape.

Kass introduces the idea of the CPS and the CTU as a part of a systemic or institutionally racist system. He successfully and insightfully turns the tables on progressives/liberals/Democrats who detect systemic racism wherever you look in America. It’s one of Kass’ best columns and I urge everyone to read the entire piece.

Taxes are paid to provide America’s children a quality education. Taxes should not paid to support any particular way of doing it, especially one that harms children. The taxes should follow the children to wherever they and their parents find quality education. To the secularists who find it unconstitutional, I refer them to the federal aid (e.g. loans) that follow the students, to whatever school they choose to attend.

Haven’t we done enough to punish these children by keeping them unnecessarily out of the classroom? Parents need to rise up and demand better. You can start by joining other fed-up parents in the Illinois Parents Union.

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  • Problem is, the Tribune has locked out anyone who is not a subscriber from reading it. “Exclusive content”. With Zorn, Chapman, and Heidi Stevens gone (hopefully Huppke, too), they are keeping Kass as “exclusive”. Where will the lib readers of the Trib go?

  • I taught for 35 years in the CPS and worked with many dedicated teachers who were selflessly devoted to the well-being of their students. I'm sure there are many such teachers today. You might have disagreements with CPS but these perpetual attacks against the teachers who work in it is grossly unfair and absolutely unconscionable.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Why is it "unfair and absolutely unconscionable" to question the right of a free people to choose what is best for them?

  • After the outstanding (non)performance by the CTU during the pandemic, I guess you can call me unfair and without a conscience. Thankfully, all the children in my extended family went to private schools where they received a full year of education.

  • In reply to Get out of IL now!:

    Meant to add, great work by the private school teachers, who are not nearly as well compensated as those in CTU. THEY are the ones who put the children first compared to the CTU rhetoric, “it’s all about the children”. Ha!

  • I can see why the Tribune Writers Guild tried to railroad Kass and get him fired. BTW,If the teachers allow the CTU leaders to speak for them they deserve what criticism that comes their way.

  • I spent 12 yrs working for CPS back when they had 100,000 more students then they do today. Today...same amount of teachers, more pay, less students, less student achievement. Nothing wrong with choice except in Illinois where you can't even choose you elected reps thanks to gerrymandering.

  • I remember taking my 7th grade class on a field trip to the Tribune Tower. Everyone we met, editors and reporters were warm and gracious to us. They introduced themselves and took questions. Except for one Tribune columnist, John Kass. The Tribune folks saw him walk our way and told us who he was and that he would be happy to meet us. Instead, he had glowered at us and abruptly walked in another direction.

    This is the guy you hold up and someone who cares about children? Yeah,, sure.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    So what? Royko was worse. As I recall, this is the second time that you have brought this up. Sorry for the slight.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I don't know that Mike Royko was worse. I knew the son of a prominent Chicago political family, frequent targets of Royko's wit. The Son visited Royko and asked him to be a featured speaker at a commemorative event. Royko declined, but the young man reported that Royko received him courteously and they had an interesting conversation.

    But then, John Kass is no Mike Royko.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    I sat next to Royko at the Billy Goat and tried my best to avoid saying anything to him. He never got over it.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Memorable for you, but he never mentioned it.

  • Biden said the United States is capable of eradicating systemic racism. The head of state believes that the country should start by addressing the problem of racism in the criminal justice system and reform the police. I believe that the United States is truly capable of eradicating the problem of systemic racism in American society. This was written in the text of the speech of US President Joe Biden marked "for immediate distribution" at the time he began his speech to members of both houses of Congress.
    "We have a real chance to root out the systemic racism that plagues American life," Biden said. He noted that the reason for the change in society was the murder of African American George Floyd and the recent indictment of a police officer who was found guilty of his death by a jury.

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