Elite Chicago Public School Raises Money to Save Teachers

The Walter Payton College Prep High School, an elite public school in Chicago, is attempting to raise $1.1 million to save 12 of their teachers from being removed during the February budget cycle. Chicago Public Schools are behind $480 million and stand to borrow more money in February.

I think this is a wonderful and applaudable act. If the teachers are good at their jobs, parents, teachers, the principal and students should do everything they can to keep them in their community. They certainly should continue their efforts, and I wish them the best of luck.

But as the article closes, it notes that the Payton, at no fault of its own, has more resources and teaches a select group of the cities brightest students who, for the most part, come from a better socioeconomic background than most of the city’s schools that must take in students of all learning capabilities and whose families are below the poverty line. As the article notes, more than 80% of CPS students comes from low income families. In contrast, about 30% of Payton’s students come from low-income families. It’s the parents of Payton students who are leading the effort– parents who may have more time to work with the school and who may be more educated on how to get involved. Less fortunate schools may have more critical immediate issues to deal with.

Once again, this is no fault of Payton and fighting to maintain a great community is setting a great example for their students and everyone around them. But, in an effort to understand what is going on in the CPS community as a whole, it’s important to note:

– Why the cuts are being made,
– How/Why other schools will be far more worse off than Payton,
– How Payton can start such a great and ambitious campaign  and
– Why other schools may or may not be able to replicate their efforts.

In no way should Payton  slow down this campaign because other schools are not doing so. But we should please take into consideration the limited resources and knowledge that schools have that may or may not prevent them from doing the same thing.