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Update: School Reform, Chicago Style


image from www.chicagonow.com

Chicagoans like to brag / express shame about just how awful things can get in city government when money and power are involved.  Education is no exception.  School board discussions are nearly always held behind closed doors, and the votes are almost always unanimous.  Until recently, kids of powerful families could get "clouted" into the best schools no matter how many others wanted to get in.  The latest examples include pretty eye-opening free-and reduced cost lunch fraud -- 20, 40, and even 60 percent more families signed up for FRL than for welfare, according to the Tribune.  Then there are the halfway house residents paid $25 to show up at a school closing hearing and protest in favor of the district's plan.  Last but not least, check out the map and story from Chicago magazine which describes an uncomfortably close relationship between candidates and elected officials and gang members. Want to run for city council and have any chance of winning?  You have to meet with a panel of gang members first.  Only in Chicago?  We like to think so, but of course it's not true.  

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The information presented in this post seems like something from a fiction novel. Toronto is experiencing school closures with false claims that the enrollment is declining across the board. Our issue is that the board is closing schools in neighbourhoods with lower socio-economic status (working parents are not able to attend the meetings as readily as parents in wealthier areas so there are few people to fight at the board meetings). The schools are being sold in Toronto to developers in communities that need more schools!

Reading things like this post and articles about school closures in Toronto, I feel helps against the powers that be!

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