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New Chicago Graduation Mandate Earns Mixed Reviews

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants all Chicago public high school students to prove they have firm post-high school plans in order to graduate.

That’s either a job offer or an acceptance letter from a college or the military. 

Janice Jackson, the school system’s chief education officer, hopes this new requirement will push school staff to see the potential in every student. The Chicago Board of Education is expected in the next few months to vote on the new requirement, which has sparked some backlash and prompted questions about whether the school system can successfully pull this off. 

“We are going to have students rise to the occasion -- we believe in our children,” Jackson told WBEZ. “They have done this time and time again. And I have zero concerns about students being able to meet this expectation.”

But WBEZ’s Sarah Karp heard mixed reviews in a series of interviews with Chicago Public Schools students and school counselors.

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