Monday, March 12, 2012

Urban school reform


The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has produced a remarkable document describing a vision for schooling that is truly equitable and high-quality.  The plan addresses, head-on, the historic inequality in education and refuses to compromise on quality. 
The Chicago Teachers Union argues for proven educational reforms to dramatically improve education of more than 400,000 students in a district of 675 schools. These reforms are desperately needed and can head Chicago towards the world-class educational system its students deserve.
The following are essential:
1.     Recognize That Class Size Matters. Drastically reduce class size. We currently have one of the largest class sizes in the state. This greatly inhibits the ability of our students to learn and thrive.
2.     Educate The Whole Child. Invest to ensure that all schools have recess and physical education equipment, healthy food offerings, and classes in art, theater, dance, and music in every school. Offer world languages and a variety of subject choices. Provide every school with a library and assign the commensurate number of librarians to staff them.
3.     Create More Robust Wrap-around Services. The Chicago Public Schools system (CPS) is far behind recommended staffing levels suggested by national professional associations. The number of school counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists must increase dramatically to serve Chicago’s population of low-income students. Additionally, students who cannot afford transportation costs need free fares.

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