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October 23, 2013

Why All American Teachers Should Care About Chicago

This week marked the 50th anniversary of "Freedom Day," the vaguely remembered 1963 Chicago Public Schools boycott in which 250,000 black students stayed out of school to demand an equal, desegregated education. Today, Chicago and most major cities are still providing an unequal and very segregated public education to minority students. We will not solve this problem until educators and civic leaders begin an honest, solutions-oriented conversation about the root cause of the problem: institutionalized racism.

July 17, 2013

Trayvon Martin and the Value of a Young African American Male Life

What is the value of a young African American male life? It's priceless, of course, but you wouldn't know it just by living in the city or watching the news.

October 24, 2012

Losing Naomi While Finding a Vital Missing Link to Save Others

A friend named Mick sent me an email last week about what happened to his friend Christopher's three-year-old daughter. The child got very sick, but he couldn't take her to the doctor immediately because he didn't have the money. Where he lives, the doctors require their basic examination fee paid ...

September 05, 2012

As Chicago Teacher Strike Looms, I Celebrate a Great Lesson

I did it. Yesterday I publicly revealed my blog to my students. I set up the LCD projector and taught the Smiley-Face Trick of "Repetition for Effect" using my post about my second-grade Ms. White, who wrote me off. All four of my writing classes applauded at the end of the lesson. It was the grea...

August 08, 2012

Reforming the 'Myth' of America's Failing Schools (It's Actually True)

I recently read a Salon article by Michael Lind stating that the failure of the American public school system is just a myth perpetrated by education reformers to justify school vouchers and charter schools. I laughed—before realizing he was serious. The article asserts that white suburban c...

June 27, 2012

How Many PB & J Sandwiches Does It Take to Pay For College?

At the start of 2010, my husband and I made a resolution that drastically changed our lifestyle. It caused us both joy and pain. Some people scoffed. Others thought we were weird. We decided to live on much less than we earned in an effort to become debt-free. In January 2012, we had met our goal...

June 13, 2012

Closing Argument: Chicago Must Finish What It Started in Education Reform

On May 23, Indiana school principal Faren D'Abell guest blogged about why he took his own child out of Chicago Public Schools and moved to another state. D'Abell had the resources to "get out" of a low-performing school system, but he understood that the average student in large urban districts have...

May 23, 2012

This Way Out: Few Options for Average Students

A friend I used to work with nine years ago recently contacted me in response to my post Amber Alert: Teenage Boy Mentally Kidnapped by Gangs. He wondered if the 20-year-old man in the post who was killed in an apparent gang shooting was the same student he had taught in 2004 when the deceased was ...

May 22, 2012

Let's Bring NATO Back To Chicago

Since NATO is a peacekeeping, treaty-making organization, I submit that it comes back to Chicago for another round of negotiations. With youth violence running rampant in minority, low-income urban communities across America, Chicago is the poster child for a new NATO mission: Not Another Teenage ...

April 25, 2012

Amber Alert: Teenage Boy Mentally Kidnapped By Gangs

Twenty years ago, the guidance counselor at my school was in middle school. His house stood on a corner lot in a gang ridden, Hispanic neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. He told me he would be doing his homework in his bedroom and hear shooting outside. Instead of getting down low, he would ...

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