Yesterday I had a fun and spirited post about Bradwell Elementary on the South Side of Chicago. I had my own rhetoric about the South Side of any American city being a miserable place and that if anything, if the article was published to bring light to conditions of the South Side of that city enough people are familiar with the place that such alarming news would fade silently into the night. I had a few thoughts about it since then, pulled the article and released in on my own blog and decided to take a different approach.
Upon talking with one of my coworkers, who used to live in the city and said that she wasn’t surprised because kids were dropping out of elementary anyway to hustle drugs on the streets I figured that perceptions of the South Side would never change anyway. An added bonus was that the West side wasn’t that much better, which didn’t surprise me either. Cities that are broken up into neighborhoods that are signified by the direction in which that neighborhood lies with respect to downtown tend to be the same anyway. So if anything the state of emergency that Bradwell Elementary should be in probably does not say anything about Chicago at all whatsoever, but might speak volumes to the state of affairs of the public school system in this country, if anything.
All the article tells me is that the city of Chicago has the same problems in their school district as those that exist across the Midwest, and for the most part, the rest of the country. Without actually going to Chicago or speaking to anyone that goes to Bradwell or is an administrator there I can’t actually pull up anything on the school. For such an institution that now has this reputation of being a bad school no one seems to have been talking about it online until now. Is it possible that in this country the public school system has such a bad reputation that no one even cares to discuss the problems that our public schools in America are facing anymore?
We have heard this before; Edison Schools was an attempt of the city of Philadelphia to privatize their troubled schools and turned into casebook study as to why schools should never be privatized. Edison had initially wanted to take over the entire Philadelphia school district but ended up having to settle for 20 schools, and quickly realized that running schools was not as easy and cost far more than they had ever imagined. At the end of the day Edison was able to turn around some of those schools, as they have stated at their own website.
Edison also has schools in at least 20 states, one of which is in Chicago. It is worth mentioning the fact that in 2/5 of the country our schools are in part owned by, or provided curriculum from, Edison whose initial plan for the Philadelphia school district made it seem as though the city was just giving up and ceding control of those schools in desperation. With privatization, it is no longer what had once appeared to be a black and white argument about whether or not your child was going to a public, private, or parochial school. The lines are blurred, not everything is what it appears to be. Likewise you cannot make a blanket assessment about schools in the South Side of Chicago just because the majority of students cannot seem to graduate from Bradwell, though I wonder how many people may walk away with that assessment …