Screen Shot 2014-04-25 at 10.17.12 AM Come fall 2017, some 300 students will be able to say they attend the Barack Obama College Preparatory High School. “And?” you may ask because there are a number of schools named after our president. Well, this will be the first one in his home state of Illinois.

Former chief of staff and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel made the announcement one day after the Chicago Board of Education voted to fire the entire staff – including teachers – at three Chicago Public Schools (CPS) elementary schools in an effort to turn them around. The hope is that the Barack Obama College Prep HS will meet the demand for more highly competitive selective enrollment schools in the district.

“We must seize every opportunity to ensure our students receive a world-class, 21st century education, and that they are able to take advantage of the academic opportunities they have earned,” Emanuel says in a press release . “Year after year, too many of our students who have put in years of hard work are turned away because as a city we haven’t had the capacity to meet their capability and this important investment will help us fix that.”

Last year, CPS closed 50 elementary schools in what was the largest wave of public school closures in U.S. history, and it has been criticized ever since for approving the opening of more charter schools and expansions to other schools.

I get that it’s inconvenient (and costly) to have a nearby school shut down, but isn’t it much better to ensure our children receive a quality education?

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  • B.

    We don’t need anymore selective schools. 5 CPS selective enrollment schools were just named in the top 5 in Illinois.
    What I would like to see is plans to help stifle the neighborhood violence. I understand Chicago is his hometown but how is building a school that the majority of students will not have access to-largely because of a failed education system- going to help anyone or anything.
    The demand should not for highly competitiveness, the demand should be to keep 16 year olds from losing their lives.

  • 1love

    Why fire the entire staffs of three schools?
    Is it the staff’s fault that schools are underfunded?
    Is it the staff’s fault that those areas have high poverty rates?

    All of this to justify and fund the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a controversial school turnaround contractor. If they are so good at turning around schools, lets have them replace the entire school board.

    Read more here – http://progressillinois.com/posts/content/2014/04/23/chicago-board-education-votes-turnaround-three-schools

    That move by CPS & Mayor Emanuel reeks of a PR stunt / re-election ploy.