That in the city of Chicago in 2015 there are people who have been on hunger strike for nearly a month to simply have what their peers in the suburbs never even question -- an excellent, fully public school -- is heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time.
I had so wanted to be a CPS parent. I wanted the vibrancy and diversity of real city schools for my children. I wanted them to have public institutions at the center of their lives, and to be truly enmeshed in their community.
The parents and community members fighting the school closings clearly are the "good guys" in this dismal scenario. But their heroic energy and indomitable courage are being expended for the sake of maintaining a status quo that is, frankly, unconscionable.
Not knowing what they don't know, Deasy et. al demand a complete focus on remediation of students weaknesses in order to improve test scores. They have concentrated completely on the narrow portions of children's brains that bubble-in tests measure.
As the saying goes, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Unfortunately, that saying does not bode well for the thousands of children who will be displaced when 54 schools shut down this year.
I'm leaving and I'm taking the kids. It's the ultimate threat -- the one that does its damage even as the words leave your mouth -- and a hallmark of a deep dysfunction. The Chicago Public Schools and I are locked in this weird relationship drama.
Parents, students, teachers, and principals are right to seek policy decisions based on evidence, not the popularity of current reforms, and to put a stop to those that harm students, schools, and their communities.
Chicago Public Schools may feel an unprecedented effort was made this year to reach out regarding turnarounds. However, while Mayor Emanuel has a point when he says the protests are "noise associated with change," that's not the whole story.