I didn’t see any reporters hanging around my child’s school in Englewood (or another community) Tuesday morning. If they had been there, they may have discovered something that I know first-hand. Contrary to what a North Side parent wrote in a Sun-Times story Tuesday, not “everybody” is happy with the deal that the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Board of Education just made. Back to normal might work for certain families in certain neighborhoods, but when normal is a tough environment without enough resources where kids don’t really learn, normal is nothing to be happy about.
I’m glad that the families the Sun-Times reporters talked to on Tuesday have such a positive expectation for their schools. But I live in the “other” Chicago — the one where poor and working-class black parents send their children to the same schools that failed them in the past. Many of us managed to pull ourselves up from the rubble. But, many of our peers did not.
One glimmer of hope I see in my community is the potential to grow schools of choice that are designed with my community in mind. Charter schools and other schools of choice can help close the gap between the two Chicagos. My child’s charter school has certainly done it for her. So when the district cuts a side deal with the union to take that option off the table for other parents, it doesn’t make me “happy.”
School is in, and everyone is “relieved” about that. But, not everyone is “happy.”
LaShanda Howard, Woodlawn, is the parent of three children. The children attend a charter school, district-run school, and selective enrollment school.
Letter originally posted on suntimes.com.
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