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Dean Cappozzo
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Eric: I was particularly struck by "troubled youths from fractured and economically stressed families that public schools must attempt to educate." As a retired CPS counselor/special education case manager/records custodian/et al (many jobs, one non-bloated salary), I have had firsthand knowledge in dealing with at-risk students and their families. Private schools would fail with these children. The reason is, which no one seems to address, is the fact that these children will have transferred many times to many different schools before they graduate from eighth grade. With each transfer, the child loses reading and math skills. In the West Englewood neighborhood, I can tell you that this is the case. Then you must deal with the heartbreak that these children experience when they are informed that they do not even qualify for "Selective Enrollment High School Application"--now their only choice is to attend the local high school, where the student population is below the 50th percentile in achievement and there is a disproportionate number of special needs children. Add to this the wards of the state who come to the schools with their own baggage and their caseworkers demanding special education testing and placement and the homeless children. Vouchers? Vouchers will lead to more transferring-- transferring of at-risk voucher students back to the public system when the private schools realize they cannot deal with these students. Until these "economically stressed" families stabilize, vouchers are a moot point.
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Feb 17, 2010