WBEZ: Merger of Gold Coast school with Cabrini Green school would mean first integrated neighborhood school in a former public housing area →

School and city politics are never as simple as they seem (I’m still trying to figure out what the hell happened with Dyett), but this just seems like a good idea: an overcrowded affluent public school and a struggling, poorer school, in the same neighborhood, should combine and create a more integrated, equitable learning environment for everyone.

But of course, the actual recorded comments from the public hearing about the proposal is uncannily similar to that chilling scene of scared white privilege bigotry from Nikole Hannah-Jones’s much talked about TAL episode.

I’m not necessarily convinced that simply integrating schools—i.e., take these black kids over here and put them in this white school over here—will necessarily lead to the kind of rich learning experiences that I would wish for all of our kids. But in this case, my understanding is that the schools are in the same neighborhood. So, wouldn’t this simply be a truer representation of the people who live there? It’s like the Platonic ideal of an integrated school.


“The only reason you survive your first year of teaching is you have no idea how hard it’s going to be until you’re already in the middle of it,” Lessem says. “Because if anybody really told you, you probably wouldn’t sign up for it.”
The Education of Jose Garcia, WBEZ

I frequently hear this, and have no doubt that it’s true. I just wish we’d take it less as a badge of honor and more as a sign of how deficiently we prepare teachers for the classroom.

(Great reporting by Becky Vevea, by the way.)

This Is How We Train Teachers

Map of Mobile Device + Twitter Usage in Chicago, from MapBox

Mobile Devices + Twitter Use, Chicago Area, by MapBox

Random Musings

Chicago, Desegregated

The only demographic map of Chicago I’ve ever seen that didn’t betray its deep segregation.

Random Musings

“Mayor Emanuel believes that early childhood education plays a vital role in the lives of some of our youngest and most vulnerable residents, and he refused to cut Head Start openings due to sequestration,” city spokesman Matt Smith said in an email.

“As such, he ordered the Department of Family and Support Services to absorb these cuts by reducing administrative overhead.”
Catalyst Chicago

I think the Emanuel administration is making a huge mistake by taking such a combative and accusatory tone against DFSS. It suggests that the mayor is the only one who cares about the kids, and he’s disciplining the self-serving bureaucrats for the sake of the children. Meanwhile, many of the people who are going to lose jobs from this are professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping the children and families most in need.

Same tone he took with the city’s teachers and school administration. And that went well.

Mayor Emanuel’s Tone Wrong Again

Music, My Old Blog

As much as I love busking down in the subway, I hardly feel as authentic and entitled as some of the other guys who play down there.

Phil, Norm & Joe are some great guys who play down there seemingly at all hours. Indeed, someone saw fit to give them their rightful place on the YouTube stage.

You guys are awesome. But lord, find a new band name.

My Old Blog

City in Motion


Millennium Park at night.

My Old Blog

Alhambra Cafe

This place is down the street from us, on a particularly inauspicious stretch of Irving Park Road. But we went there recently with the grandparents and found it utterly charming and unique. Like going to the home of a friend you wish could come out from the kitchen and chat more about life in his homeland of Egypt or the culinary inspirations that lead him to carefully source the freshest and most environmentally-sound ingredients, but instead you let him remain at work back there making delicious dips to order, generous sandwiches on fresh bread, and stunning salads with locally-sourced greens.

Please go and keep them in business.