Most city neighborhoods already have a local schoolyard, and it's the perfect space to be transformed into an outdoor hub -- serving students during the school day and the entire community when school isn't in session.
My second grade daughter has lived through an extreme fixation on the study of simple machines at school. My sixth and eighth grade kids also studied simple machines when they were in second grade, but it involved a few worksheets and a classroom project designed to catch a leprechaun.
As budgets have been slashed and the arts have been devalued, music education has been evicted. It has been left to organizations to fill the void, so that students who might otherwise go without music education have the access and opportunity they deserve.
Restorative justice has the capacity to empower those who have not been empowered in the past. Individuals and communities begin to act collectively, which is necessary in order to challenge the punitive structures that keep our young black and brown boys from succeeding.
Police brutality is not a black problem, nor is it a white problem. It is a people problem, and due to our city's status as one of America's major urban hubs, it is a matter of utmost importance to public school educators.
I currently teach Math. But I don't have a single student who likes their English class, and it makes me wonder why. I loved it because I happened to be an obnoxious little linguaphile. The way English classes are (often) run would surely turn off any kid who isn't one.
Over 22,000 of our students were identified as homeless last year, and it feels like, amidst discussions of testing, contracts, and school closings, no one gave this ever-rising number the attention I believe it deserves.
Illinois' 2014 statewide races are over, but now it's time to get to work on making the state better, which starts with a better education system for Illinois' students. But first we have to reflect on where we are now before we can move forward.
The protest to preserve the history curriculum is important for many reasons. If the so-called education reformers are not careful, they may bring on that catastrophe by toppling the only remaining institution dedicated to reinforcing civic values -- public education.
We may never go back to open classrooms, immersion in the arts, and curriculum totally driven by the interests of students. But I am hopeful that the creative spirit of that phase of education will creep back into our schools.