Why I am not ok with a new Barack Obama College Prep School

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I come from Chicago, where the public school system is an absolute mess. Two years ago there was the controversy over Rahm Emanuel's changes to the length of the school day and school year. The claim was that lengthening the school day and year would "keep kids off the streets".

Last year was the CPS teachers strike and the closing of over 50 public schools. The schools closed mostly served communities of color and low income communities. CPS said it was to save money, but many sources show the amount a school would need to update and maintain a school was much higher than the schools report they needed.

This year CPS has given millions of dollars to the selective enrollment schools and are also planning on opening a new one. This article provides more details on the school. I want to highlight that the geographic location will be near most of the other selective enrollment public schools, and will continue to serve people with privilege.

CPS has closed so many schools in underprivileged communities to "save money" but somehow find it ok to give a ton of money to the best schools and build a new school. This logic is rooted behind the idea that schools that work need to be rewarded and that there needs to be more schools like this school. However, all this is doing is giving people with privilege something they don't need.

Last year, while researching this topic, I found a transcript from a meeting in my old community regarding the closing of the only middle school in the neighborhood. Tons of community members came to testify why this school deserved to stay open. While reading the transcript, I recognized the comment of a close friend of mine. Reading his comments about how he felt gangs wanted him more than colleges did broke my heart.

The truth is, the student that need support are not getting it. CPS is only serving privileged communities by utilizing the city's geography (more access to better schools in very specific areas), and operating under the illusion that anyone can make it if they work hard. This money shouldn't go to a high school. By this age students have learned the expectations society has for them. Take the example of my friend. He has been criminalized, his base education provided fewer resources than other more privileged elementary schools, and this new school will only harm children like him.

I do not care about who this school will be named after when I don't think the school should open at all. This is the only school to be named after someone that is still alive. Personally, I think this stinks of Rahm's motivation to win the big spot in the white house.

1 Comment

Hi! Thanks for posting this-I think it's a really interesting point. Have you looked into at all how this type of policy around schools operates in other major cities such as Los Angeles and New York? I'm only wondering because something tells me that this is symptomatic of a deeper issue across the country, and not merely isolated in Chicago. You could see an analogous sort of divide in the funding that assorted public schools in Minnesota receive, I would think-Edina as compared with inner city Minneapolis schools, for instance. Anyways, thanks for posting! Public schools are definitely symptomatic of many of the structural oppressions in the United States.

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This page contains a single entry by Priyanka published on May 6, 2014 9:30 PM.

HRC: Promoting Equality or Furthering Privilege? was the previous entry in this blog.

Response to Tal Fortgang is the next entry in this blog.

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