What we’re reading this week: April 6th

This week, we’re reading about Rahm’s new schemes, how extreme wealth buys out our democracy, and how students are standing up for their communities across the city.

Rahm Emanuel should drop his absurd CPS graduation scheme and fund public education : The Chicago Reader calls out Rahm’s plan to increase barriers to high school graduation for CPS students.

“Emanuel has decided that it’s on students themselves to navigate the myriad issues facing the city’s school system, despite the fact that the disparities and exacting conditions they face in the classroom were created not by them, but rather by policymakers and politicians.

And if students can’t make it through the gauntlet of CPS…Then no diploma for them.”

Drawing Up an Urban Planning Manual for Chicago Teens : The Chicago Architecture Foundation is working with local youth and artists on a new graphic novel that tells the stories of Chicago’s neighborhoods from teenagers’ points of view.

“In the first section, set in the past, three friends of different races and classes encounter discrimination from passersby when they attempt to spend an afternoon together downtown. The second section, based in the present, addresses issues of gentrification, affordable housing, and zoning through the story of a girl who is being evicted from her home. Five teenagers work on Chicago’s City Planning Council in the third section, set in the future, and are tasked with reviewing developer proposals for a neighborhood. To make good decisions, they realize they must personally engage with the community to find out what it needs.”

The Problem with Modern Philanthropy : The Atlantic looks at how concentrating decision-making power in the hands of wealthy individuals undermines democracy.

“They define disruptive philanthropy as philanthropy that competes with the government to provide services, rather than collaborates with it… The trouble is that this type of giving can reshape the public agenda… Charter schools are a prime example—they are often funded to compete with the public-school system, and eventually replace it. Often, these gifts are made with little public oversight or input, and yet make huge changes to public policy.”

Students United in Power : South Side Weekly profiles the CPS students who are fighting for their communities and their schools in the face of Rahm, Rauner, and Trump.

“While [Brighton Park Neighborhood Council] students are fighting for an array of causes, they were all inspired to become activists by inequities they experience in their everyday lives… ‘They’ve had teachers who’ve been laid off, they’re using old textbooks, they’ve seen their after school programs cut, they’ve seen a spike in violence on the Southwest Side, and they see that at the root of that is a lack of funding and this system in Chicago that is prioritizing the white wealthy neighborhoods on the North Side.'”

Sweeping Federal Review Could Affect Consent Decrees Nationwide : Jeff Sessions is pushing back against police accountability measures in many US cities, including Chicago.

“Beyond Baltimore, the most closely watched decision will come in Chicago, where the Obama administration, in its final days, issued a report that found failures in the Police Department after a series of police shootings of minorities. Negotiations have begun for a possible monitoring agreement, but Mr. Sessions has indicated he thinks the report was shoddy, casting doubt on the prospect of a deal.”

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About Lauren Dean

Lauren is a graduate student in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a research intern at the Chicago Teachers Union. Her research focuses on urban policy, equity, and labor issues. She edits A Just Chicago.

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