Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Chicago School Closings – Keep the kids safe first

Posted: March 22, 2013 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized
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I really respect Dr. Steve Perry.  He’s truly someone to admire for the work he’s done in creating a model school in CT.  His work on the TVOne show Save my Son is ground breaking.  However, he has strong opinions on what should be done with the schools in Chicago that I don’t entirely agree with him.  In general, I believe that chronic under performing schools should be closed.  Why keep a school that just can’t cut the mustard open?  However, Chicago is in a situation where the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is strap for cash.  They are in a budget hole for 1 Billion Dollars.  One of the ways to help close the gap is to close almost 60 under utilized/under performing schools.  This will force students to potentially go to schools outside of their district.  This isn’t an insignificant number of kids.  Some of the argument from”experts” has been parents and kids just need to deal with the inconvenience in order to provide a better educational environment for the children.

 

 

Perry Quote

 

This isn’t just an issue of “convenience” for parents and kids.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but kids are getting shot in Chicago.  If you are a single parent and you have to leave to get to work at 6:30 and leave your child on the bus stop at 7:00, this is an issue that needs to be addressed.  We can’t even protect our children when they are going around the corner to the neighborhood school.  How in the world are we going to protect them going to in some cases a marginally better school miles away?  All due respect to Dr. Perry but, I’ll listen to him on this issue when he puts his son on the bus stop by themselves on the corner of 59th and Wood St. in Englewood at 7:00 in the morning for an entire school year.

In choosing between two evils, I choose the option where my child has a higher chance of being safe.  We have to figure out a way to efficiently manage capacity while ensuring we are protecting these kids on the way to school. We can’t just say “shut them down” without considering child safety first.

 

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I’m the result of when we invest in the future

Posted: August 11, 2012 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized
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Growing up my family skirted between being a middle class family to living in below the poverty line.  At one point in our lives my dad could afford to buy us an IBM compatible PC in the late 80’s before they were a common household item to “borrowing” electricity from the hall way to keep the refrigerator running.  These experiences have given me a unique perspective on life.  I can fully appreciate the peaks and values of life as I learned how to be happy with very little and happy in periods of financial prosperity.

It has also given me a proper perspective on what it takes for under privileged children to reach their potential.  I had an extended family that believed in heavy investment in the children of the family.  My grandmother especially believed in keeping us engaged as a way to keep us out of trouble.  For those of us that didn’t have summer school she worked hard to find summer programs sponsored by the government or non-for-profits.  These programs ranged from a summer computer camp, a summer tutoring program at the University of Chicago and after hours tutoring at the clinic she received dialysis.  The combination of the support of my parents and these programs changed my life.  I’m currently a Computer Systems Architect at one of the most advanced engineering companies in the world.  This is a direct result of my exposure to these programs.

These programs opened up a world that a kid from Englewood never knew existed.  I got exposed to what I didn’t know was a world class university, got introduced to my profession and tutoring in advanced science, technology and math.  Without these opportunities to supplement a Chicago public school education and my parent’s limited education, I would be just another kid from the inner-city that didn’t reach their potential.

This is why from a political prospective I tend to lean to the left.  We need these programs to continue both from the government and from non-for-profits.  Kids need to be exposed to worlds outside of what they see out of their windows.  Let me tell you from experience what they see out their windows is not very inspiring.

I’m looking forward to sharing detailed stories of my history and about the people and places that helped me along the way.