WBEZ | Lincoln Park High School http://www.wbez.org/tags/lincoln-park-high-school Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Lincoln Park High School students walk out in support of teachers http://www.wbez.org/news/lincoln-park-high-school-students-walk-out-support-teachers-107019 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/protest2.jpg" title="Junior Oswaldi Gomez led Lincoln Park High School in chants of support for their teachers. Eight teachers recently learned they will not returning when the school is converted to a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureat. (WBEZ/Katie O’Brien)" /></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F90656830" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">On Friday morning, hundreds of teenagers poured out of Lincoln Park High School and onto Armitage Avenue.</p><p>To be fair, they warned their teachers beforehand.</p><p>The participating students wrote a letter explaining that they were going to walk out for a number of reasons--but mostly, they walked out for their teachers.<br />Before doing so, they presented a letter explaining why they planned to walk out.</p><p>&ldquo;We want to show that we do care about our education and we wish to have a say in it,&rdquo; it read. &ldquo;We have been informed that many teachers are being fired so that newer teachers can be hired and we don&rsquo;t want to sit back and let CPS make a business of our education.&rdquo;</p><p>Senior Abina Redmond was among those gathered.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re protesting the firing of our teachers...eight so far,&rdquo; she explained.</p><p>In December, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that Lincoln Park would be converted into a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate school the following school year.</p><p>IB programs were originally crafted for children of diplomats--the rigorous curriculum was designed to get students college-ready.</p><p>Currently, 20 percent of Lincoln Park&rsquo;s students participate in the school&rsquo;s IB program.</p><p>When the school goes wall-to-wall next year, all of its 2100-plus students will have some level of IB coursework.</p><p>But it seems not all of their teachers will be joining them.</p><p>Any time a Chicago Public School&rsquo;s academic focus is changed, teachers re-apply for positions. Traditionally, principals have had complete authority over who stays and who goes.</p><p>But the Chicago Teachers Union asked CPS to make a deal: CPS agreed to let teachers with exceptional rating stay--those with a satisfactory ranking or lower had to reapply.</p><p>Earlier this spring, 128 teachers received offers--eight were recently rescinded.<br />The letters went out prematurely, before anyone ran the deal by the Board of Education. According to a CPS spokesperson, the board ultimately did not support requiring principals to accept candidates that they found unsuitable.</p><p>The same spokesperson added that the district is working to place the eight teachers whose offers were rescinded.</p><p>Junior Oswaldl Gomez spoke into a megaphone as he led his fellow students in chants. He then explained that the protest was about much more than their school, their teachers. Because, he said, it&rsquo;s not just their school that&rsquo;s changing.</p><p>&ldquo;Our brothers, our sisters, they&rsquo;re losing their teachers--whether they are five or they are 18,&rdquo; Gomez said.</p><p>Principal Michael Boraz sent an email in response to the walkout. He wrote, &ldquo;It is imperative for me to make decisions that are in the best interests of all our students and their academic success.&rdquo;</p><p>In another part of the city on Friday morning, students at Williams Middle School staged a sit-in at the school Friday morning to protest the closure of their school. Next year, Williams will close and students will go to Drake, which will relocate in the Williams building.</p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://www.twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez&nbsp;</a></em></p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 19:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/lincoln-park-high-school-students-walk-out-support-teachers-107019 Chicago teachers rock http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/chicago-teachers-rock-102377 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/teachers%202.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 310px; float: left; " title="I love teaching: Lincoln Park teachers gather after the morning picket line. (WBEZ/Jim DeRogatis)" /></div><p>I&rsquo;m tempted to start this rare departure from my usual beat at WBEZ with a musical crack recounting the most hateful thing that has been said about our mayor during his battle with the Chicago Teachers Union &mdash;&ldquo;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/09/11/160968342/chicago-mayor-emanuel-does-not-like-nickelback-spokesperson-says">RAHM EMANUEL LIKES NICKELBACK</a>&rdquo;&mdash; but this strike is no laughing matter&nbsp;(a<a href="http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/redeye-emanuel-spokeswoman-he-does-not-like-nickelback-20120911,0,392980.story">&nbsp;statement from a mayoral spokesperson</a>&nbsp;to&nbsp;<em>Red Eye&nbsp;</em>countered&nbsp;that Emanuel does not, in fact, like Nickelback).&nbsp;The real issue here, often obscured by all the noise from both sides, is vital to every parent in this city, and indeed the entire country: the future of public schooling.</p><p>My soon-to-be-16-year-old daughter was planning on marching in support of her teachers at Lincoln Park High School (pictured today on the front page of <em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/education/chicago-teachers-strike-enters-third-day.html?_r=1&amp;hp">The New York Times</a></em>) even before I broached the subject with her. For that &mdash; and for the three hours we spent walking and chanting with two of her classmates, other parents, their kids and what she said looked like every faculty member at the school &mdash; I never have been more proud of her.</p><p>The reportage and analysis of the issues I leave to my colleagues at WBEZ, in particular the tireless and brilliant Linda Lutton and Becky Vevea (if you want up-to-the-minute head&rsquo;s-ups on any and every development, <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a> on Twitter is a must-follow). But&nbsp;I was too moved by the experience this morning &mdash; and too struck by how some of the things I witnessed did not jibe with much of the coverage I consume as a media omnivore &mdash; not to offer a few observations:&nbsp;</p><p>1. A poll commissioned by my former employer,&nbsp;<em>The Chicago Sun-Times,&nbsp;</em>may show that only&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/15081881-418/poll-47-of-chicago-registered-voters-support-teachers-in-strike.html">47 percent of Chicago voters support the strike</a>, but the ratio of drivers, bikers and pedestrians honking their horns, raising their fists in solidarity or shouting their support was more like four out of five or 80 percent, which, needless to say, was enormously encouraging to all of those educators in red.</p><p>2. The percentage of police cars, fire trucks, CTA buses, sanitation and other public works vehicles doing the same actually was, no exceptions, a very loud and extremely enthusiastic 100 percent. This underscores one bigger issue with the strike: Emanuel has, from the start, been strongly anti-union. His bullying when dealing with organized labor in every sector of city services makes it seem like he&#39;s forgetting the ideals of his party and the time-honored values of Studs Terkel&rsquo;s Chicago. (See Mark Brown, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/brown/15090961-452/gop-candidates-are-giving-their-views-on-the-strike.html">GOP candidates side with Emanuel on strike</a>,&rdquo; or Carol Marin, &ldquo;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/marin/15081962-452/rahm-emanuel-picked-this-fight-with-teachers.html">Rahm Emanuel picked this fight with teachers</a>,&rdquo; both in the <em>Sun-Times.</em>)</p><p>3. Every one of the two dozen teachers I spoke with at length did a better job of articulating the issues at stake and the reasons why they&rsquo;re on the street when they&rsquo;d prefer to be in the classroom than union president Karen Lewis or vice president Jesse Sharkey has done to date. As a media professional and a college English teacher, I&rsquo;d have to give Lewis and Sharkey a &ldquo;D&rdquo; as communicators.&nbsp;I&rsquo;d contrast their public statements to, say, those of the Chicago librarians&rsquo; reps when they fought the mayor last year. Those guys earned at least an &ldquo;A-&rdquo; for getting their message out loudly, clearly and with a consistent focus.&nbsp;The teachers union needs to perfect the way it presents its message, and quick. The court of public opinion will be every bit as crucial as the bargaining table in resolving these issues.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/strike%20flickr%20javier%20ayala.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right; " title="(Flickr/Javier Ayala)" />So, what did the teachers at Lincoln Park High School say their gripes were?</p><p>No one mentioned money &mdash;&nbsp;not once. Nor did anyone say that principals should not have the right to fire negligent or ineffectual teachers. They&rsquo;re arguing that standardized test scores should not be the dominant factor in evaluating teachers, not when there is no &ldquo;standard&rdquo; in the countless challenges facing students outside the classroom in schools throughout this vast and diverse city, from the most troubled on the far South Side to the most privileged on the far Northwest.</p><p>The teachers I spoke to said that good teachers at schools closed because of declining enrollment or consolidation &mdash;&nbsp;many of them educators with years if not decades of experience and positive evaluations &mdash;&nbsp;should be first in the pool of those to be hired at other schools. Principals at these schools should not be able to go first to the cheaper first-year teacher just to put a body in a classroom. Hard work, good performance and consistent service should be considered and rewarded.</p><p>They&rsquo;re saying that resources such as libraries, school nurses, guidance counselors, social workers, arts and music materials and air conditioning are vital to the educational experience, and they&rsquo;re all being cut to the bone or were never there for students in the first place.</p><p>And, most importantly, they&rsquo;re saying that charter schools are <em>not </em>the answer &mdash; not when so many <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/marin/index.html">reliable reports</a> hold that charters have not been proven to be any better than public schools.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-11/news/ct-edit-strike-0911-jm-20120911_1_cps-teachers-cps-offer-chicago-teachers-union">A particularly anti-labor editorial in yesterday&rsquo;s <em>Tribune</em> made the city&#39;s real agenda here crystal clear</a>. The headline: &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t cave, Mr. Mayor. The strike is about who controls Chicago&rsquo;s schools, Chicago&rsquo;s future.&rdquo; The <em>Trib</em>&rsquo;s wrongheaded answer about what the mayor should do: &ldquo;Convert a much larger number of CPS schools into charter schools.&rdquo; (Charter schools, of course, are non-union, but then so is the <em>Trib </em>newsroom and editorial board<em>.</em>)</p><p>As a parent who believes in public schooling, it offends me to the core to see these educators being disrespected as they are.&nbsp;And it offends me even more that Mayor Emanuel has chosen to send his three children to one of the most expensive private schools in the country, the University of Chicago Lab Schools, <a href="http://www.ucls.uchicago.edu/admission/tuition/index.aspx">which costs an average of more than $25,000 a year per student</a>.&nbsp;This personal choice sends a very public message: The Chicago Public Schools are good enough for more than 400,000 of <em>your</em> kids, but they are not good enough for <em>mine</em>.</p><p>I honestly do not believe my daughter would have gotten a better education at the Lab Schools or anywhere else. And I believe the Chicago teachers deserve to be treated with the respect they&rsquo;ve earned for that.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>P.S. To bring it back to music, I&rsquo;d direct teachers on the picket lines <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2012/09/playlist_union_songs_for_strik.html">to this playlist of 12 timeless rock songs in support of workers compiled&nbsp;by my friend, Sun-Times rock critic Thomas Conner</a>. Because nothing helps more than music when the time comes to hang tough.&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>Finally, a group of Chicago artists and musicians called &quot;Artists Stand With Chicago Teachers&quot; hopes to become a &quot;hub to express solidarity&quot; with teachers from the community I usually do cover; they plan a &quot;Rock for Teachers&quot; event on Sept. 22. You can show you second their efforts <a href="http://artistsolidarity.wordpress.com/">here</a>.)</em></p></p> Wed, 12 Sep 2012 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-09/chicago-teachers-rock-102377 Louder Than a Bomb: High school training ground http://www.wbez.org/content/louder-bomb-high-school-training-ground <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-15/Malcolm still shot1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/22448349?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" width="601"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><div>When poet Malcolm X. London spits that “the educated aren’t necessarily the educated,” he’s referring to the inequalities of the public school system. The18-year-old Lincoln Park High School senior argues that our “failing” schools are actually succeeding at what he says is their real purpose: Preparing young people for a future that mimics the problems and contradictions of society as a whole. “My high school is Chicago,” he recites. “Diverse and segregated on purpose.”<br><br>London’s poem, <em>High School Training Ground</em>, was one of several pieces that helped him win impressive accolades at this year’s <a href="http://www.youngchicagoauthors.org/">Louder Than a Bomb</a> competition. London was the top individual performer in 2011, selected from over 700 competitors. His piece is also the second in our month-long series of young poets performing their work on location.<br><br>In honor of National Poetry Month you can check out London’s understated but powerful performance in the video above. And if you missed last week’s homage to Cabrini Green you can watch it <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/aliyah-oyemade/louder-bomb-remembering-cabrini-green-84897">here</a>.<br><br>WBEZ is a presenting partner of Young Chicago Authors' Louder Than a Bomb Teen Poetry Slam Competition and Festival. Click <a href="about:blank">here</a> for more information. Thanks to Alltown Bus Service for letting us film on their Chicago lot.</div></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/louder-bomb-high-school-training-ground