Chicago Mayor's Plan To Update H.S. Graduation Has A Fatal Flaw
In recent years, the fate of the Chicago's public schools is increasingly driven by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama Administration top advisor and Chicago native. Some community activists and a growing number of black and Latino parents are expressing anxiety and unhappiness over what they see as his disregard for their needs, and the barriers they face due in part to historic institutional discrimination.
For many, alarms went off last week when he announced proposed new high school graduation requirements.
Dubbed "Learn. Plan. Succeed. — A Degree for Life," the plan will require the Class of 2020 to meet at least one of the following metrics in addition to existing class completion requirements in order to graduate: a college acceptance letter; a military acceptance/enlistment letter; acceptance at a job program (e.g. coding bootcamp); acceptance into a trades pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship; acceptance into a "gap-year" program; or current job/job offer letter.
Some advocates say Emanuel's new plan will create another barrier for the city's most vulnerable students, in particular, black and Latino students already struggling to graduate from under-resourced, overcrowded schools.