We must find a way to pay for projects like La Casa, the community-based college dorm

La Casa was an affordable “Live, Learn, Thrive” environment that helped many low-income students graduate from college.

SHARE We must find a way to pay for projects like La Casa, the community-based college dorm
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La Casa opened in 2012 as a college dormitory in the middle of an immigrant neighborhood tailored for low-income students of color. Carlos Ballesteros/Sun-Times

Our decision to close the La Casa student housing program was an agonizing one.

The Resurrection Project and La Casa tried to address the student housing crisis by giving low-income, first-generation college students the ability to attend nearby institutions of higher education.

La Casa was an affordable “Live, Learn, Thrive” environment that helped many low-income students grow and graduate from college.

Our mission was to make it affordable to working families by charging only $6,500 a year versus the $10,000 to $12,000 cost of living in a typical college dorm.

But as operating costs went up, Resurrection Project did not increase the cost to students and, in fact, lowered them. As college costs continue to rise and financial aid stagnates or declines, the typical working family’s income has not risen sufficiently to cover college costs.

Long-term, this is bad for society.

Not enough students of color have a college degree. Universities and policymakers must double their efforts to address this problem.

Many students like Joel Aguilera credit La Casa with allowing them to finish their bachelor’s degree. We are proud of Joel and the many more who graduated from college with La Casa’s help.

The private, philanthropic and community sectors must find creative and sustainable ways to support and fund “promising ideas” like La Casa. Our children’s future depends on it.

Raul Raymundo, CEO and co-founder, The Resurrection Project

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Times have changed for teaching

This is in reply to the Oct. 24 letter extolling the writer’s parochial school education with 40-plus students in a class.I too had that education, and it was beneficial.

However, today’s students and educational practices are different.The discipline we experienced is no longer possible.The methods of individualized teaching and hands-on learning, as well as technology, make teaching a challenging job even with 25 students.

I taught in a parochial school for 33 years and grew through all these changes.It is a difficult and rewarding job, with even the best conditions.

Georgia Janewicz, Morton Grove

The party needs to be over, CTU

I’m a CPS parent times two and a lifelong Chicagoan who is proud to be from the city that unions built, but enough is enough. The CTU has gone too far.

‘It’s not a party, it’s a protest!’ I hear over and over. And yet, while my kids, my husband and I are kept from business as usual — school and work — I bear witness to colorful signs, celebrity-studded rallies, food chains to feed those who march and barbecue grills set up to provide sustenance for the hours of picketing.

Looks a lot less like a work stoppage and more like a block party. But what do I know of the “truth,” the CTU rhetoric says? What I do know is that my kids, and kids throughout the city, most with far fewer resources than my own, have been kept from their classrooms for over a week. Projects, activities, tests and education have ground to a halt.

I see CTU leaders entertaining presidential candidates in rallies and on the phone, and being “seen” during media opportunities despite their presence being sorely needed at the bargaining table. But, what do I know?

Frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing that this falls squarely on the mayor’s shoulders. Many of you teach math. What part of Chicago being in debt doesn’t make sense to you when you push for just a little more beyond a 16% raise over five years? How about some understanding that most working people never get a 3% raise year over year? And most workers pay dearly for their health insurance and still experience increases in double digits, not decimal points.

Negotiations are a funny thing. They require two sides to be present and empowered.

The party’s over, CTU. Not one more rally or colorful T-shirt picture, please. Our kids, or as you keep saying in every sound bite, “your kids,” are waiting.

Jackie Meyers, West Ridge

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