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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ready to Serve Chicago's Future

I had the opportunity to appear on a panel for WTTW’s Chicago Tonight on Wednesday, September 8, 2009. I was joined by Julie Woestehoff, executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education, and Lorraine Forte, editor-in-chief of Catalyst Chicago. We discussed back-to-school issues and the current state of Chicago education.

As a panelist, I shared some unique qualities that charter public schools encompass, how they serve as frontiers for education innovation. While addressing topics such as government education funding, dropout rates, violence and testing scores, I highlighted Youth Connection Charter Schools (YCCS). YCCS is an excellent example of how charter schools address and improve these current educational issues. This Chicago charter public school has worked hard to increase student attendance and dropout recovery. The panel experience also gave me the platform to clear the air of certain charter school assumptions such as selective student enrollment.

The most important message of the evening was to remember that the name of the school is not important, but the process and value of education we are instilling in our children. Charter public schools are a part of the public school system and there is a state of urgency to come together and find the best solution for our future Chicagoans. For that reason, I found the conversation very beneficial for all parties.

Last night’s experience was educational and productive. In order to ensure a stronger tomorrow for our children, we need to concentrate on the current problems and take action to improve. Chicago Tonight’s panel gave me the podium to demonstrate how charter public schools are a great avenue for this change and how they can harmonize with the public school system. Working together to help our future should be all of our priorities and I know Chicago is up for the challenge.

Sylvia Ewing,
INCS Interim Executive DIrector

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