Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chicago Public Schools Want to Do the Right Thing

When I was a child, I had the cutest dog in the world named Milton after University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman.  The dog was always happy to see me when I came home from my private tutoring and he always smiled and wagged his tail.  Unfortunately, he also drooled and as a result my cousin took an instant dislike to Milton.  My cousin used to kick the dog and pull his tail until the dog yelped and I cried.  

Finally, when I was 9 and my cousin was 11, I told him that he had better leave my dog alone or he'd be sorry.   He looked down at me and though he was much bigger than I was, he must have seen the determination in my face.  He told me, "Let me kick Milton really hard 10 times.  If you do that, I won't kick him again for 5 years."

Needless to say, I was overjoyed.  When my cousin was done, Milton was in agony for a few days, but afterwards, he didn't have to worry about my cousin teasing him or picking on him.   When I visited my cousin in prison last Summer, I reminded him of the story and we shared a laugh about how I stood up to him and negotiated on behalf a small innocent dog that looked to me to protect him.

The Chicago Public Schools have made an equally generous offer to protect the children of Chicago from the trauma from the turmoil and agony of school closings.   All they ask of us is that we allow them to wait until March 31st to announce the schools that they will close this year--a number they promise will be between 5 and 200.  In exchange, they won't close any schools down for the next 5 years.

Now, these are going to be some very hard kicks.  We're asked to allow them to announce they're closing schools when it's too late for the teachers to work in these schools to easily find employment elsewhere and more importantly, when parents have less options for their students for next year.   They're shutting up community input too.   This will be a bitter pill to swallow, but just think how great it will be to have five years without any school closings after that.  

CPS has proven their case.   Closings might not save money, but they're necessary.  The city has more desks than students and they're going to be opening a lot of brand new charter schools, which will only exacerbate the problem.  If you live in Illinois please contact your state legislators and let them know that you want them to support this deal.  After all, even little Milton survived a few hard kicks.  That reminds me, sometime I'll have to tell you about the deal that Hitler brokered with the Europeans over Czechoslovakia. 

[Last Stand for Children first Board Member and Congressman, Jack Kimble has written his memoirs.  If you like the kind of writing you find on this blog, you may enjoy his book as well.  Check it out at www.profilesincourageousness.com]

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