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Mike Klonsky asks why the Chicago Board of Education intends to approve $50 million tonight to build three new Noble charter schools when the district supposedly has a huge budget deficit.
He posts a letter from a teacher at Kennedy High School, a public high school whose basic needs are not met even as the district finds money to build three shiny new charter schools.
The teacher contrasts the struggles and successes at Kennedy with the favoritism shown to Noble charters:
“We have had the highest growth on the ACT in 2012 in both Composite Gains and Meets/Exceeds Increases. We have been recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education for increases in Student Achievement by being placed on their Honor Roll. We have been authorized as an IB Diploma World School. What more can we do to prove that Kennedy is a great general public high school which services all students from low-incidence to IB, and everything in between.
“When Noble Charter students are asked to leave for minor discipline infractions and lack of academic achievement, they come to Kennedy and we educate them. We don’t have the ability to ask students to leave our school for discipline issues, while at the same time having the Student Code of Conduct rewritten to handcuff our abilities to truly discipline students and hold them accountable for their poor behavior.
“We have achieved the most impressive turnaround in student achievement for a general public high school in all of Chicago. We did not do it through a multi-million dollar school improvement grant. We even managed to work through this with a $1.9 million budget shortfall in 2013. We have done this through collaborative effort, blood, sweat and tears at times. When will be the moment when our voices are heard? We were never asked to submit an RFP for capital improvements at Kennedy. We don’t have the opportunity to request additional resources to improve our building.”
The Noble charter network is the favorite of the city’s power elite; it names each school for rich patrons.