Friday, December 29, 2017

Chicago Collegiate Charter School Must STOP Expansion Plans

So I did a little digging into Chicago Collegiate Charter Schools, the tiny school looking to expand into the empty Kohn Elementary School building. A school in the far Southside neighborhood of Roseland which was murdered during Rahm's 2013 school closing rampage. It is located ONE BLOCK from my elementary school, Langston Hughes. This expansion would be a death blow for our school and many of the other surrounding neighborhood schools.
 All information was taken from their website: 
-Out of 26 teachers/staff including the Dean, the "Director of Talent and Marketing", Academic Program Director (Is this the principal?), and Chief Operating Officer FIFTEEN of them come out of Teach For America, with 3 CURRENT Corps Members (meaning they have not completed their teacher training.) That's nearly 60% of the staff being under TFA's indoctrination process.
-They only have THREE "Learning Specialists" which I assume is a covert way to say Special Education Teacher, and at least one of them is a current untrained TFA corps member. The school serves grades 4-12.
-The school is smaller that my school (Langston Hughes) yet somehow has $$ for a "Director of Talent & Marketing", a "Director of Community Engagement", and a "Chief Operating Officer" as well as a Dean AND an Assistant Dean despite have less than 400 kids. Where is the $$ for these high-paying positions coming from??
-In addition to TFA, all these common edreform orgs are mentioned in the staff bios: Stand For Children, Relay Graduate School, Noble St, KIPP, and AUSL. This school is a hotbed for all the worse trends in education today.
-The Board of Directors is full of bankers, lawyers, and Fortune 500 non-educators. The only person with some sort of education background is an early childhood person despite the school starting in grade 4.
There in no way this school could ever offer even a fraction of the quality education that my school can.
The community of Roseland, like too many other African-American neighborhoods, is suffering from under-enrollment and ensuing cuts in all schools in the area thanks to intentional disinvestment and chaos in the neighborhood. Rahm's racist Disaster Capitalism is driving families away even as they discuss building a BRAND NEW SCHOOL. Our neighborhood schools do not have marketing directors or paid staff to promote the hidden gems that are our public schools. We canvas the neighborhood ourselves. We succeed DESPITE going through the brutality of a school closing in 2013 and then SEVEN rounds of subsequent budget cuts. We make up for the loss in several teaching positions, our Dean, a Culture/Climate coordinator, a clerk, our Librarian, special ed positions, teacher assistants, and a cut to Social Work/Psych services even as mental health needs spike at the school. CPS has done nothing but sabotage our school, yet we soldier on.
What our community COULD use is shared community space. A community center complete with safe, supervised recreation space for kids and youth, mentoring programs, free extracurricular opportunities like art, music, drama, dance, sports, continuing education programs for families. If the city is looking for ideas from the community for closed school buildings, the community will come through with those ideas.