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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Open House Draws a Crowd

There were some interesting outsiders in attendance at tonight's Big Picture Open House: Univision, WBEZ, Catalyst Chicago, Marvin Garcia from Alternative Schools Network, Mike and Susan Klonsky from the Small Schools Workshop, Emilio Carrasquillo, new director of Neighborhood Housing Services for Back of the Yards/Garfield Boulevard, and Jesse Iniguez, candidate for 12th Ward Alderman. Overall, I'd guess between 80 and 100 people showed up.

More importantly, this time parents and teachers were circulating petitions and letters asking CPS to keep the school open. There will be a group going to Wednesday's school board meeting at 125 S. Clark Street. That's not all that lies ahead. It's time to pressure the aldermen, the state reps and every other power point that can be tapped.

I'm worried that now, when people are really ready to try, it may already be too late. But here we go.


Anonymous said...

I honestly believe that judging schools by test scores alone is wrong. But, how do the Big Picture schools explain the very mediocre Explore-PLAN-ACT scores their schools have put up? Doesn't it matter? Are colleges going to welcome the kids with a 13 or 14 without putting them on probation or making them take all those 095 type classes that don't count towards graduation? Over the years I've heard story after story from young people who couldn't make it or got discouraged because of these things making them feel like they weren't good enough.

Despite some of their fierce exteriors, many inner city children are extremely sensitive to intellectual criticism. Many have been told they aren't good enough somewhere else and when they don't make it in college or into college, they're done. They don't want to keep failing and being told they aren't good enough.

I've overheard some of the BP teachers talk about preparing their students for college as one of their primary concerns, but if they get a 14 on the ACT isn't that going to be a slight problem when they walk into that college classroom? What school can the student with that 14 get accepted to anyway? Why can't it be that students are well rounded, exposed to various positive learning experiences, and manage a decent score on a standardized test?

Until almost every college and university does away with their current entrance requirements, and figures out how to more fairly gauge student achievement, students everywhere will have to get a decent score on standardized tests. Like it or not.

Anonymous said...

The website lists over 700 schools many of them quite reputable, who do not require standardized tests. I believe my own alma mater Antioch College is among them! Here's the link:

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