Home > Chicago, Rant, Uncategorized > Bringing the Arts Back to Chicago Public Schools

Bringing the Arts Back to Chicago Public Schools

A new entity has organized to address the lack of programming for the arts in Chicago Public Schools.  The newly re-started Chicago Cultural Plan ignored and left behind the lack of education in the public school system leaving the problems to others to address.  I got on the mailing list for the newly created Chicago Public Schools Arts Plan.  The lack of arts education is a serious issue because:

  • Chicago public high schools have a 50 – 60% drop out rate.  We lead the nation in failure.
  • CPS students usually get one hour of arts instruction (or less) a week.
  • The city has been at war with the teacher’s union to downsize staff and teachers, to cut budgets.  No end to the financial conflict is in the foreseeable future.

Art class was probably the only thing that kept me in high school.  I doubled down and took two sections my senior year and really wanted to drop out myself.  On any given year, I spent my one to two classroom periods in the art room and usually my entire lunch period as well.  I had a lot of stress and art was the one thing I cared about and needed.  I can hardly imagine how much school would suck to be in now without something to relieve the pressure of surviving day after day.  The high drop out rate only makes sense.

This is going to be a tough challenge because the CPS school system is bankrupt and the teachers union is going to be wary of attempts to privatize education.  I would want to be a volunteer and teach kids, but then I stop that line of thought because I know I would be taking a job away from someone if I worked for free.  I had volunteered with a grammar school for a few years running at a grammar school for a weekend arts event at the invitation of the staff.  I knew I was helping and not displacing their full-time art teacher.  Also, why should I work for free at something which is a profession?  Meanwhile, kids keep losing.  There’s no music program, no arts program, no dance program, no theater program.

Anyone who tells you “these are tough times, we need to make cuts” are hypocrites that can afford private education for their children.  I’ve only heard that spiel from white, middle class or wealthy people.  I have never once heard this bullshit from a working class family or people of color.  They will tell you they want as much education as possible of all types for all children.  I have lived in many poor neighborhoods and know a community falls apart right when its schools fall apart.  If you rip the backbone of a school out, the families that can afford to move away flee to enroll their kids in good schools.  The poor are left behind, have less resources, have less to aspire to, they become poorer and crime takes over.  I have no idea why our public officials and government are so stupid.  Population always goes up and inflation is always on the rise so schools always need increasing amounts of income: more money, not less.  Until this basic concept sinks into the public consciousness, the fact that population growth is exponential, the school system is going to keep failing and fighting internally over every single tax dollar.

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Categories: Chicago, Rant, Uncategorized
  1. July 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Oh, and after months of silence, the Cultural Plan Facebook feed posted a blog article that was favorable to their cause. I noticed that it took months to find a non-critical review and it was not even a mainstream news outlet. That’s really scraping the bottom of the media barrel. I didn’t even read it because I know how this city works, and there’s a good chance someone is in line to cash in if they outright didn’t had a staff member write it. I still stand by my criticisms.

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