Thursday, September 04, 2008

Art Education for the Exclusive Few

The exclusive, albeit nominally public Chicago High School for the Arts is scheduled to open in fall 2009, according to a recent Chicago Reader article.

It will be a “contract" school as part of Chicago’s Renaissance 2010 program, and highly selective—students will be chosen on the basis of audition, academic record, and “potential” (whatever that means). The school will also be able to hire uncertified, nonunion teachers, and will not have a Local School Council (LSC). In other words, it’s business as usual for Chicago’s unelected CPS CEO Arne Duncan, and more to the point, Mayor Daley, who apparently likes keeping the city’s good stuff for a rarified few, even when it’s funded publicly.

Rev. Meeks has it right—all Chicago’s children deserve a top quality education, and this long-awaited public school for the arts should be open to all, regardless of prior opportunities. How about this for a plan?

Next year, a roaring river of Chicago’s young artists and creative youth should show up at the school’s doors and demand a seat, an instrument, a palette and paints, and the stage—this school should be for you, all of you, so take it!

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