By Lauren Grimaldi
Thinking about the pursuit of a college degree in something that is important to us was only possible with help of the teachers and classes in high school, or even prior. For some, it would be hard to imagine getting to college and succeeding without the basis of a great education from early childhood on.
Many of us who inhabited Chicago’s suburbs in our youth have had the blessing and therefore privilege of going to well-funded schools where the mere idea of a strike was brought up as a joke or a meager threat, but never a serious plan.
The children who live within the boundaries of Chicago Public School districts are not always so lucky. It is well documented, the CPS system is utterly broken. Its most recent event proving the incredibly tense situation came on April 1 when staff and faculty of the schools within the district went on strike, marched through the streets of the Loop and beyond, voicing their frustration with the system rife with corruption and deceit.
These educators protested for things that they already should have access to. Anyone that dedicates a significant portion of their lives to helping young people become better members of society through the power of learning deserves a fair pay grade and reasonable workloads.
However, we see that this is lacking badly in CPS and perhaps the most devastating part of it all is the impact it will have on the student’s future.
Learning is one of the most fundamentally and inherently good things in our world that can cause true inspiration and lead to major changes in one’s life. Without access to a good education, there is a frightening difference in opportunities for young people compared to those who had such chances.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to propose the closures of what he deems “failing” schools. Those decisions bear devastating consequences for Chicago’s children that they themselves cannot fight.
Sure, their parents can go out and protest. They can write strongly worded letters to their aldermen, they can form groups to try and combat these changes in any way possible.
But, so far, as we have seen, there is no defeating the mayor and his tactics. His lack of empathy for the children and families of Chicago’s neighborhoods is astounding in many different facets, but especially when it comes to education.
And so, it is hard to see an end in sight for the travesty of CPS, but, it would be unfair to the children of the city to give up on the fight. They deserve a right to establish a meaningful and substantial life just as everyone else does and there is no doubt that access to a great education would help them do exactly that.