There’s an old adage: Figures never lie, but liars always figure. The amount and type of information available to the public about Chicago schools, and the way the information is presented by the district, the state, newspapers and researchers, all tell different stories. Just as news reports about gang shootings often vilify our neighborhoods, our youth portrayals of Chicago’s schools are often one-sided.
Contrary to the way CPS talks about schools and students, they are more than test scores and certainly more than “seats”—be they “quality seats” or “low-performing seats.” Schools are the centers of communities. Some families have attended the same school for generations. Chicago schools have produced scientists, lawyers, politicians, actors, athletes and artists. The twelve years or more that students spend growing up in Chicago schools can help them become thoughtful, caring, intelligent and active members of society.