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Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (left), Charles M. Payne, professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and Jackson Potter, staff coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union (right) during a panel discussion presented by the Better Government Association and Catalyst Chicago in Hermann Hall, 3241 S. Federal St., at IIT.

Charter schools debate at IIT
by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul

The dispute over the impact of Chicago’s charter schools was front and center Wednesday, Nov. 14, at a heated panel discussion featuring Illinois Network of Charter Schools president Andrew Broy, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration professor Charles Payne, and Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) staff coordinator Jackson Potter, at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Hermann Hall, 3241 S. Federal St.
The panel, originally planned to include CTU president Karen Lewis in lieu of Potter, was part of a forum, “Charter Schools, Neighborhood Schools and Public Education in Chicago,” hosted by the Better Government Association (BGA), a local watchdog organization, and Catalyst Chicago, a news magazine covering education in the city.
The event kicked off with opening remarks from BGA founder and retired ABC 7 political reporter Andy Shaw, followed later by a PowerPoint presentation of charter school facts and figures from Catalyst Chicago’s editor-in-chief Lorraine Forte. Catalyst Chicago founder Linda Lenz moderated the subsequent panel.
Broy used his opening statement as the launching pad for his argument, citing a “citywide performance problem” in which a minority of Chicago students is “meeting benchmarks that are grade appropriate.”
The executive touted the flexibility of charters and said they appealed to him personally because “the charter sector is the one place where I can go from idea to implementation in a very short time frame.”
Potter later lashed back, depicting the charter model as oppressive for parents.
“This idea of going from idea to implementation in a short period of time – it runs roughshod over people’s rights, in schools that have been closed and destabilized, where the parents have had no say,” Potter said.
Payne — seated between Broy and Potter —adopted a measured stance throughout the discussion on the benefits and drawbacks of charters.
“I do think under certain circumstances the flexibility of charters can give you some advantages. I think it’s fairly small. And not large enough, again, to justify the amount of time, energy, and leadership, attention that they are getting,” Payne said.
He criticized the debate over charters and traditional schools as misguided, saying that both systems were “failing” and that it was unclear more charters were needed.
“You don’t need to expand an intervention which you have not yet evaluated,” Payne said, noting that students in cities with a higher percentage of charters — such as Washington D.C. and Milwaukee — were not outperforming those in Chicago.
While Potter and Broy also acknowledged the need for better schools, both men wrangled over whether charters were an improvement on their publicly-operated counterparts. In one instance, Broy said many parents were seeking to enroll their children in charter schools.
“That I think is creating pressure on the district to adapt and be more responsive,” he said.
Potter offered a more skeptical interpretation of parents’ choices
“If they’re knocking down the doors of charter schools it’s because their schools have been closed,” Potter said of the families of Chicago’s African American students who, according to statistics cited by the CTU, represent 88 percent of those affected by school closings since 2001.
Asked by Lenz whether charters were enforced to offer arts programs and libraries to their students, Broy again highlighted the flexibility at charters.
“The whole point of a charter is that it is not a simple, single model, but rather the design team, the teachers who design the school, will design what the neighborhood needs, what the students want, and provide that,” Broy said.
But what Broy portrayed as an advantage of charters Potter once more argued compromised the democratic nature of public education.
“So choice has actually become code for separate but unequal,” Potter retorted to applause. “And the whole notion to a right to an education is that everybody deserves an incredibly tremendous education.”
After more than an hour of questioning from the moderator and scuffles between Broy and Potter the debate ended with the three men’s closing statements.
Potter made an appeal to “egalitarianism” and argued that community and economic improvements were necessary for better education, while Broy criticized as unhelpful the “rancor” on the panel, which he said reflected the “general political discourse.” Payne capped off the program by asserting that CPS “lost legitimacy” which would need to be restored for educational reforms to be effective.
To watch the full program, search for the video titled, “The Impact of Charter Schools in Chicago,” uploaded onto CAN TV’s YouTube channel, chicantv.
by Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul

  U. of C. charters’ college fete
By Daschell M. Phillips

The University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter School of Research and Design held its annual college week kickoff event Nov. 12 with several college-related activities and discussions.
The University of Chicago Woodlawn Charter School of Research and Design (UCW), 6420 S. University Ave., decided to create a new college week tradition by launching the week with a pep-rally style celebration to create higher education awareness for its 6-12 grade students. During the week of Nov. 12 -16, students took trips ranging from day trips in the city, 1-2 day statewide trips, and longer regional and national trips based on grade-level.
The event, which took place inside the school’s auditorium, included a ribbon cutting, a performance by the Central State University Percussion Line, a visit from WGCI radio personality Kenya Simone, a step team performance and the performance of “Crossed: The Homecoming Stage Play,” by Chicago playwright C.L. King.
“This is the third year we’ve had college week,” said Katelyn Silva, communications director or University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI), the umbrella organization that all U. of C. Charter Schools are under. “This is the first year for this level of celebration and we want it to get more and more robust each year.”
Shayne Evans, director of UEI said UEI wants to make the pep rally-style event a permanent part of the UCW college week tradition.
“We want to create a college going culture,” Evans said. “Our mission is to prepare 100 percent of our kids to go to college and graduate from college.”
He said some of the major reasons for the college week activities, which parents and community members were also invited to attend, was to create an expectation for college and communicate to the community that the students can demonstrate intelligence and have the capacity to do great things.
UCW parent and protective father Michael Jue, whose daughters Nina Jue and Faith Redaux are both 6th graders, said he was a little worried at first about his daughters going on college visits but he understands the school’s vision.
Jue, whose daughters will be taking day-trips to tour schools such as DePaul University and North Park University, said its great to get early exposure.
“We didn’t have this type of opportunity in high school,” said Jue, who said he only completed a few years of college.
Daniel McGary, a freshman at UCW who was preparing for a two-day college tour with his classmates said he enjoyed the kickoff event.
“What stood out to me was the play,” McGary said. “The way people changed once they went to college reminded me of how people in my life changed from grade school to high school.”
Skyla Jossell, a UCW junior who wants to study music or law in college, said she has taken full advantage of the college week activities over the years.
“I’ve gone on every single trip. Freshman year I went to New Orleans, this year I am going to New York, Ohio, Detroit and Indiana,” Jossell said. “I just go because the school is giving us the opportunity to see what it’s like.”
Mariah Brown, a UCW senior who plans to study international relations and Spanish in college, has also attended past college tours and now will spend college week in college week boot camp.
UCW seniors will spend the week in Chapin Hall on the University of Chicago campus perfecting their college admissions forms and essays and securing recommendations and scholarships, grants and other financial aid.
Brown said early exposure to college helped her become more focused and prepared for this year.
“At first I just thought of [the tours] as a free day, now I have direction,” she said.
Brown, who wants to attend the University of California in Los Angeles, said her family supports her choice.
“My father said I could go as long as I get in and get the money,” Brown said. “I also have family in California so it’s fine.”


  QCDC honors locals

The Quad Community Development Corporation held its fourth Annual Connect 4 VIP Awards ceremony and reception Nov. 16 at Room 43 1039 E. 43rd St.
The Quad Community Development Corporation (QCDC) is a community organization that was established to highlight the historical significance and cultural values of the North Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas, and Grand Boulevard neighborhoods.
QCDC named its event Connect 4 in tribute to what it considers the four vital components of a vibrant neighborhood, which are community, beautification, political will and business, and awards those in the community who have helped advance these ideals.
Pastor Chris Harris received the QCDC Community Award for recognizing and the need of “community-minded clergy.” He is the leader of the Progress Around the Schools Program where clergy, congregants and community members meet every first Saturday to pray around Chicago Public Schools. He is also the founder of the Bright Star Community Outreach organization, which creates collaborative partnership program models designed to provide educational enrichment programs, anti-violence prevention and intervention activities along with good student incentives and the founder of the Bronzeville Family Festival, where over 9,000 community residents attend annually to receive free laptops, book bags, school supplies, health immunizations and food. He also serves as President of the 4th Ward Ministerial Alliance and is the Cook County Clergy Coalition President.
Betty Ann Welch-Thompson received the QCDC Beautification Award for her commitment to advocacy for positive, safe communities and the people who live in them.
Betty Ann is a member of the Resident Management Council. She currently volunteers on the Chicago Housing Authority’s Local Advisory Council for which she is treasurer; the North Kenwood Oakland Community Organization; clean and green committee; Scatter-sites Senior Group; Lake Parc Place Building Council and the Park 532 Advisory Board and Oakland Neighborhood.
She can often be seen sweeping and picking up trash around Lake Parc Place apartments, where she resides.
The QCDC Political Will Award was given to state Rep. Kimberly du Buclet for her service to the 26th District.
Du Buclet was appointed to the office in May 2011, replacing Will Burns, who is now alderman of the 4th Ward. Her committee assignments include Health Care Availability Access; Small Business Empowerment and Workforce; Higher Education; Appropriations-Human Services; Health & Healthcare Disparities; Tourism & Conventions; and Select Committee on Discipline. The Friend of QCDC award was given to Oreal James of MD Capital Partners for his commitment to providing free technical assistance to not for profit organizations and small businesses.
He serves on the Board of Directors for the Washington Park Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the executive committee for the newly launched CARE (Community Anti-Violence and Restoration Effort) initiative spearheaded by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
The QCDC Business Award was given to Milton LaTrell for his dedication to Park 43, the temporary transitional park created with the goal of providing community green space near his store, Agriculture. He used the park as a space for “positive loitering” and maintained the grounds by paying for lawn service and general care.
Other highlights of the event included catering provided by Chef Robert Blanchard of Norman’s Bistro, 1001 E. 43rd St., and a live jazz performance by Christopher McBride of Quatuor De Force featuring Sarah Marie.

The Weekly Outlook covers community events occurring from Wednesday, the date of this issue, through the following Wednesday.  The deadline for event information is noon, Thursday before Wednesday publication.  Address details of local events to:  Calendar editor, Lakefront Outlook, 1435 E. Hyde Park Blvd., Chicago, IL 60615

Exhibit. “Dust in their Veins: A Visual Response to the Global Water Crisis.” DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th St., 773-947-0600, An installation of mixed media art works by artist Candace Hunter addressing the plight of women and children who are adversely affected by the lack of rights to clean water. Runs through March 10.

Exhibit. “Buried Treasures: Art in African American Museums.” DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th St., 773-947-0600, Includes around 90 works from 30 museums by artists including William Edouard Scott, Henry O. Tanner, Augusta Savage, Jacob Lawrence, Metta Warrick Fuller, Elizabeth Catlett and William H. Johnson. Runs through Dec. 31.

Exhibit. “Word, Shout, Song: Lorenzo Dow Turner.” DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th St., 773-947-0600, University of Chicago alum and linguist Lorenzo Dow Turner, who once taught at Howard University, researched the language of the Gullah people of the American South Atlantic coast. This exhibit contains recordings, photographs and artifacts that Turner collected. Runs through Dec. 31.

Center for Weight Management Class. 5 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 2525 S. Michigan Ave.,, 312-567-5555, free. This weekly class takes place every Wednesday and features a comprehensive and medically supervised approach to weight loss.

Class. Jazzercize. Every Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., every  Saturday, 7:45 a.m., Mercy Hospital, 12th floor great room, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., 773-821-8450,, $8 per class or eight  tickets for $34.

Class. “Attack It” Adult Fitness. Every Thursday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.,  Mercy Hospital, 2nd floor Joyce Auditorium foyer, 2525 S. Michigan  Ave., 312-567-2000,, $15 per class.

Class. Yoga for You - for all levels. Every Tuesday, 5-6:30 p.m.,  Mercy Hospital, 2nd floor Joyce Auditorium foyer, 2525 S. Michigan  Ave., 312-326-2979,

Class. Yoga for You - for beginners. Every Wednesday, 5:30-7 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 2nd floor Joyce Auditorium foyer, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., 312-326-2979,

Class. Education for Life Series - Diabetes Management. Every  Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Mercy Medical on Pulaski, 5525 S. Pulaski  Rd., Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., 312-567-8775, Physician’s referral and registration required.

Postnatal “Pump It Up” Fitness. Every Saturday, 11 a.m.-noon, Mercy  Hospital, 12th floor great room, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., 312-567-2000, $15 per class, reduced six-week rate. Workouts  designed for bonding with your child. Register online at

Prenatal “Power Hour” Fitness. Every Saturday, 11 a.m.-noon, Mercy  Hospital, 12th floor great room, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., 312-567-2000, $15 per class, reduced six-week rate. Workouts  designed to prepare for labor and delivery. Register online at

Gentle Yoga for Women on a Breast Cancer Journey. Every Thursday,  3:30-5 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 12th floor great room, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., 312-567-6724. Yoga designed for post-treatment healing. Breast cancer survivors attend for free.

Living with Heart Failure. Every Thursday, 1 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 12th floor conference room, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., 312-567-6724, free. Support group for those living with heart failure and their friends, family and caregivers.

Open Kitchen. Noon-1 p.m., Monday through Friday and every Saturday, Kenwood United Church of Christ, 4608 S. Greenwood Ave., 773-373-2861, A local soup kitchen.

Wednesday, Nov. 21

Real Men Read. Every Wednesday, 9 a.m., Drake Elementary School, 2622 S. King Dr. For more information, e-mail

Wellness Wednesdays. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mercy Medical at Dearborn Station, 47 W. Polk St., 312-922-3011. Free blood pressure screenings.

Sunday, Nov. 25

Sunday Evening Jazz. 3:30-4:30 p.m., Hyde Park Jazz Society, Room 43, 1043 E. 43rd St.,, $10 for adults, $5 for university students with ID. Vocalist Joan Collaso performs.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

Lecture. The History of the European Union and Challenges to its Future: The Euro Crisis. 11 a.m.-noon, Hermann Hall, auditorium, 3241 S. Federal St., 312-567-3000. Mark Pituch, academic program officer at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, presents.

Real Men Read. Every Tuesday, 9 a.m., Jackie Robinson Elementary School, 4225 S. Lake Park Ave. For more information, e-mail

Blessed Beginnings. 6:30-9 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 3rd Floor The Birth Place, 2525 South Michigan Ave., 773-376-4626,, $90 per couple. Call for more information and to register.

Bringing Home Baby. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Mercy Hospital, 2525 South Michigan Ave., 312-567-2441, Provides tips for proper usage of a baby’s car safety belt and inspection of cars and seats to teach and verify proper registration. Call to register.

Wednesday, Nov. 28

Real Men Read. Every Wednesday, 9 a.m., Drake Elementary School, 2622 S. King Dr. For more information, e-mail

Wellness Wednesdays. 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mercy Medical at Dearborn Station, 47 W. Polk St., 312-922-3011. Free blood pressure screenings.



King College Prep local school council. 5:30-6:30 p.m., King High School, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd., 773-535-1180.

Jackie Robinson Elementary School local school council. 6-7 p.m., Ariel Jackie Robinson Elementary School, 4225 S Lake Park Ave., 773-535-1777.


Public meeting on Michael Reese Hospital Site Redevelopment Project. 6-8 p.m., West Point Baptist Church, 3566 S. Cottage Grove Ave., 312-705-6856,


Lake Park advisory council. 7-8 p.m., 4117 S. Lake Park Ave., Lake Park Crescent

Community Room, ground floor.