Friday, May 3, 2013

Walking Englewood: Earle To Goodlow

Had an interesting walk through West Englewood with Raise Your Hand's Wendy Katten on Sunday morning. On this particular visit we walked the distance between Earle Elementary and Goodlow Magnet.

This is one of the scenarios that probably made sense to some TFA intern somewhere and it made its way up the ladder of yes-people to the top. I have trouble even explaining it--- basically, the Goodlow staff is being shown the door, and the Earle staff is going to take over, and they're going to bring the Earle neighborhood kids along. Earle may or may not be converted into some kind of magnet, and whether or not that magnet will have any seats reserved for the kids in the neighborhood is beyond me. 

I also don't know what's happening to the Goodlow magnet concept, now that it's a sorta-kinda magnet with a bunch of neighborhood kids and their teachers. The only thing reasonably certain is that it's going to be a crowded, crowded school, and there aren't very many people in the neighborhood who think it's a good idea.

The walk itself is not terribly far, but there are gang lines that you don't get on a spreadsheet. The kids know where they are. I know Barbara Byrd Bennet has hired a retired marine or something, and that she feels that everyone will be safe,  but my theory is that she hasn't listened very closely to the parent reports from the current safe passage program.

But the main thing is that from my vantage point---- of having worked with 8th graders for 23 years, and now high schoolers for a few years----  I fail to see how any of the kids being crammed into the Goodlow building are going to benefit from this upheaval. They won't. It's also my informal observation that CPS has the capacity to "manage" maybe one of these evacuations per year. I'm not sure about how CPS is going to help heal a neighborhood where parents feel like they've been pitted against each other, either.

Fifty is going to be chaos. It will only be successful in the PR releases.

My hat is off to Wendy Katten, who can walk up to anyone and start an illuminating ed policy discussion. It was an interesting morning--- I left out more than I put in. I hope they leave these schools alone, but if not, I'll go back in a year with my camera. 

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