Monday, September 03, 2007

CPS--Just Go!

Chicago is dotted with signs these days with "CPS--Just Go!". Just Go is evidently the new slogan of the Chicago Public School System. Just Go?

This is horrible. Do they think they can fool kids with being semi like a Nike ad? Our generation was raised with ads like fairy tales...we may not know what is completely true vs fake, but we do know a quality story when we see it.

All the signs do is remind students that there doesn't seem to be a good enough reason to go to school in least not one good enough for them to put on thousands of signs across the city. And it reminds students of what dim-wits are running the Chicago Public Schools, or at least their marketing department. Attendance is such a problem in CPS they have special awards/prizes for pupils who attend the first 2 weeks of school. They get corporate sponsorship to give away Ipods and Sox tickets.

With all this in mind, did I ever tell you about the High School I visited in Little Village (a Mexican Neighborhood West of Pilsen)? I was asked to teach a drivers ed class about how to share the road with bikers. This was great. I can't believe how drivers are not required to learn anything about how to share the road with bikers! (We are slowly getting it required for taxi driver certification in the city.)

The school is new, big and beautiful with lots of natural light. The drivers ed teacher was a really cool woman who seemed like she was skilled in Martial Arts and some how communicated this to myself and the students. The classroom we were in was covered in pictures of Che Grevera and masked Zapatistas. There was a big poster that I think I recognized from one of the side bathrooms in lothlorien, it read "the US, Exporting Terror since 1940, Panama, Honduras, Iran, Grenada, Iraq...." I don't remeber the exact date on the poster or all the countries listed, but I do remember being like "holy shit" the US government is paying for these kids to learn this. Awesome. Of course they are teenagers and it was drivers ed on the last week of school before summer vacation so I had a really hard time getting them to pay attention. As I was trying to get a shy girl in the back to tell me how a motorist should aproach a biker at a stop sign when they want to turn right "Get Up Stand Up, Stand Up for your Rights" started playing on the loud speaker. Yes, Instead of a bell, at this school they play Bob Marley between classes! I was so impressed that someone actually was changing what I thought had to be burned into youth as a fake edition of Zak Morris meaninglessness . . . The community is organized against bad traditions and I like to think they are raising a subversive army of young Chicanos who while change the country, move it from our entrenched manifest colonialism.

Then I go to Tilden and meet kids who can't read... and I realize I'm one of the only teachers who realizes Eugene can't read. What should I do to help him? I am ashamed that I don't really know the answer. Am I able to help change things for the better or would I just be a missionary. I really like the idea of 'change for us, by us'. I know that I am not really part of the oppressed 'us' (being a woman and semi jewish may help me understand what it means to be treated differenetly or semi-hated, or not completely considered a person; it is by no means the same as being a young black man with a single mom on the south side of Chicago). "For Us By Us" also sounds like something Social Darwinists and Capitalists believe as they claw to the top... I should stop making excuses and call Eugene's mom ( I have her phone number in my spiral notebook). I should talk with her about her son's learning disability and see what I can do to help or what resources I can find for him.


Blogger man and woman nwoke said...

any luck contacting eugene's mom?

6:18 AM  

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