chance fights to keep chicago school open

December 6, 2018
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Always a hometown boy from Chicago, Chance the Rapper is using his voice to advocate for Chicago public schools in a new op-ed for the Chicago Tribune. An extension of his work with his organization SocialWorks, Chance is speaking on behalf of the underrepresented and under-resourced families who make up the school system, raising awareness about the catastrophic circumstances of Chicago Public Schools.

“I’m committed to providing innovative ways to work with institutions to positively affect our children. This investment is not a stamp of approval for the bureaucracy of CPS, but I do want to see CPS students to succeed. Instead, I am witnessing what seems to be the never-ending cycle of the displacement of our Black and brown children,” he wrote.

His aim? To foster environments for affordable after-school activists and community resources that will help stabilize local communities and foster a fertile ground for fair, accessible education: “Through its affordable after-school activities, community health clinic and senior recreation center, National Teachers Academy (NTA) has figured out that the key to providing a successful educational experience is collaboration with the community. NTA has become more than just a building — it’s a village. NTA parents, teachers and students are battling to keep this village.”

In the piece, Chance specifically advocates on behalf of a South Side elementary school, the National Teachers Academy, a school where 80 percent of the students are Black and 76 percent of which fall below the poverty line and now faces closer by the CPS. NTA, for several years, has welcomed students from neighboring communities when their schools have closed.

“Located at the former Harold Ickes public housing project[…] NTA is also a Level 1+ school, earning CPS’ highest school rating and outpacing 80 percent of students across the nation. The Illinois State Board of Education has called this accomplishment “commendable,” which is an understatement given the state’s history of inadequate public school funding, NTA’s past principal turnover and its initial school rating of 3 (which is CPS’ lowest school rating). This five-year turnaround is a testament to the teachers, parents, and staff at NTA.”

But, Chance warns, it’s not too late for NTA and its students and families. There’s still time for the CPS to change its mind about how important the school is to the community. “It’s not too late for CPS to make the right decision and change course. This moment could set a precedent for future school closings and end the displacement in education that has plagued CPS history. In the fight for equal education, it is imperative that we all stand with NTA.”

Read Chance’s plea in its entirety, here.