Problems in CPS go far beyond a lack of air conditioning

The problem with the Chicago Public Schools is simple: It fails to educate students well. That is why families have voted with their feet and left.

SHARE Problems in CPS go far beyond a lack of air conditioning
High School students exit Roosevelt High School in Albany Park, after their first day of the 2023-2024 school year, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

High School students exit Roosevelt High School in Albany Park, after their first day of the 2023-2024 school year, on Monday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The problem with the Chicago Public Schools is not its air conditioning. It’s also not money.

The problem is simple: It fails to educate students well. That is why families have voted with their feet and left.

In the last 20 years, the CPS budget has skyrocketed and more than doubled — from $4.6 billion to $9.4 billion — yet its enrollment has dropped by more than 25%. That’s right, CPS has lost more than 100,000 students in the last two decades.

That. Is. Crazy. No other school district in the country comes close to that enrollment loss.

Yet we talk about air conditioning.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of approximately 375 words.

It begs — or should beg — a simple question: Why? And again, the answer is simple: When any business offers a deficient product, consumers will reject it and search for alternatives that meet their needs.

Equal parts ironic and telling, the only significant new enrollment in CPS is migrant families Think about that: our native families, and especially our African American families, are fleeing the district in droves while a broke city educates and houses those who pay little to no taxes.

More dysfunction: The Chicago Teachers Union now runs the district since gaining influence and power over the last decade. Even our mayor is a former CTU organizer. Kudos to CTU for running a system that serves CTU, but our kids are the ones who suffer.

Oh, but I forgot: “It’s all about the kids.” Rinse and repeat the mantra until it almost sounds believable.

The majority of individual teachers are wonderful and hard-working. But they too are now part of something way bigger than their classrooms.

The gig is up. More than a decade ago Chicago closed 50 schools. Since then, CPS has lost another 80,000 students. As such, it’s past time to close at least 50 more schools.

But instead, on the second day of school, I received an automated message from CPS about keeping kids “safe” because of the heat. Newsflash: Yes, we expect our kids to be safe at school, but we send them there to learn and get educated. And since that’s not happening for too many, people are finding places where it is happening and waving goodbye.

Only in Chicago would we blow so much hot air while distracting with talk about air conditioning being an impediment to learning.

William Choslovsky, CPS parent and former local school council member, Lincoln Park

Back to school cool

Thank you for Tuesday’s “First-Day Fun” Sun-Times cover, marking the return of classes at the Chicago Public Schools. It was one of the best front page images, ever in the long years of journalism. Just what we all need now; some joy, and hope and the wonderful enthusiasm of children. Great reasons to keep going for justice and joy.

Kathleen Walsh, Rogers Park

The Latest
The Cubs sit at 47-53 with a negative run differential as their playoff chances continue to decrease.
White Sox (27-73) become 14th team with 73-plus losses in first 100 games
Iconic New York rappers De La Soul kicked off the evening of Pitchfork Day 2 in Union Park.
Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark are the lone rookies making their All-Star debuts in Phoenix.
Kahleah Copper will make her Olympic debut in her ninth WNBA season. She accomplished the goal with steady improvement each year.