Its hard to deny just how poorly Chicagos public schools are performing when it hits you in the face. Such is the case with Paul Robeson High Schools 2014 prom theme: This is Are Story.
Some people might enjoy mocking the irony of the gross misuse of vocabulary.
But unless the organizers of the prom festivities planned the wording this way as a joke, theres nothing funny about the situation.
Paul Robeson High School is located in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicagos South Side, one of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. The high school also is part of the failing Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, system.
Four out of 10 CPS freshmen do not graduate.
If they do graduate, 91 percent have to take remediation courses in college because they do not know how to do basic math and school work. Just 26 percent of CPS high school students are college-ready, according to the ACT subject matter tests.
Students in these schools whose families cant afford an alternative are trapped in classrooms that, for the most part, aren"t equipping them to succeed in the future.
But while CPS students get left behind, their teachers receive generous compensation.
The average CPS teacher salary is $76,000. The last contract negotiations in 2012 gave CPS teachers 17 percent raises over three years.
The median household income in Chicago is just $47,408. The disparity is worse in Englewood, a neighborhood where 23.6 percent of residents are unemployed and the average per capita income is $12,255.
Somethings not adding up.
Students cant spell. They cant do math. They aren"t graduating. And theyre not being set up to succeed in the real world.
So why should CPS teachers be rewarded with raises?
The Paul Robeson prom theme is a glaring example of just how bad things have gotten in Chicago Public Schools. The tragic irony is that Paul Robeson students picked a theme that evokes hope for the future; something every child deserves.
But until CPS changes its ways, the system will continue failing students at schools like Paul Robeson.
Its time all Chicago students have a reason to believe in a brighter tomorrow.
If only my grammar was alive to see me graduate