This is the first of what I'm hoping will be a regular post from CPS communications guru Peter Cunningham, who has been a regular reader and occasional commenter on the site:
"Last spring, the Chicago Consortium on School Research released a study suggesting that only 6.5% of Chicago public high school freshmen eventually graduate from a four-year college. The Consortium has since adjusted the number upwards because of new graduation data from colleges, but the number itself is an estimate based on the performance of students from the 1980’s – long before school reform took hold or Mayor Daley took control of the system. Nevertheless, many people have quoted the figure as undisputed fact and blamed the current administration for falling short.
"No one can tell you with certainty how many CPS students eventually graduate from a four-year college and until they can, we should all stay away from this statistic. We all agree that, no matter how many of our kids are earning four-year college degrees, it’s not enough and we must do better. Rather than blaming people for the shortcomings of the past, however, let’s talk about what we can do in the future to get more kids through college. The New York Times used the statistic to focus on the responsibilities of colleges to support struggling students and help them succeed. Another dimension of the issue is the skyrocketing cost of college tuition. Clearly, CPS has the key role in preparing kids for college and we are doing more today than ever before, but we all have a role in raising success rates."
Feel free to comment on Cunningham's argument below, and if you or anyone you know might have a valuable perspective that should be shared on this site -- be it teacher, activist, parent, etc. -- let me know at AlexanderRusso@gmail.com. The point of the site is to hear all views, share information, and learn from each other.