Chicago’s best kept secret is that its school system is now a nationally recognized leader in urban education.

In the last year, independent reports from Stanford University and the University of Chicago have shown that Chicago Public Schools leads the nation in student academic growth, and high school graduation rates are up by over 20 percent since 2011. The percentage of students going to four-year colleges has more than doubled since 2009. CPS offers the largest network of International Baccalaureate programs in the nation. And researchers at the University of Illinois found that CPS students now outperform their peers in every major racial and ethnic group in the state. If Stanford, the U. of C. and the U. of I. independently confirm the progress being made in our schools, it’s important you know it, too.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Just as important, the additional $450 million in annual funding Chicago Public Schools now receives from the state after years of fighting for equitable school funding is at risk.

That’s why Progress Chicago — a nonprofit issue advocacy organization dedicated to promoting sound public policies for the city’s continued advancement — launched a multi-media campaign to highlight our students’ academic progress and to counteract threats to the equal funding formula that was reached with bipartisan support last year.

To highlight the academic gains in our city’s classroom, we asked CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson to share this story of success because as a native Chicagoan and CPS graduate, teacher, principal and mother of two CPS students, there is no better representative and advocate for the district than she is.

It’s important to note that Progress Chicago does not participate in political activity on behalf of or against any candidate for office. Our mission as a social welfare organization is to promote sound public policies that advance the city’s academic success, economic growth and neighborhood development and to spotlight the people committed to building better communities for the next generation of Chicagoans. That includes the hundreds of thousands of students, educators, parents and community leaders like Jackson who have worked relentlessly to transform our district into the national model it is, as recognized now by some of the country’s leading research institutions.

It’s more important than ever to stand strong for Chicago Public Schools and call on our legislators to continue to support efforts to equitably fund Illinois schools. We intend to work to ensure Chicago continues to get its fair share to sustain the progress it’s making. Our city can’t afford to go backward given how far we’ve come. That’s a secret well worth sharing.

Sam Hobert, executive director,
Progress Chicago

Trump and the Eagles

I am a little surprised to learn that Trump plans to hold a Super Bowl celebration with the Marine band and the fans.  Admittedly, they both had a great season — but didn’t the football players also have something to do with the Eagles’ championship?

Trump’s racism has led the NFL to ignominy to appease him. Trump’s efforts at authoritarianism debase us all. The strong message here is that the players stood up for what is right.

 Lee Knohl, Evanston     

Roskam picking seniors’ pockets

This week I got a fancy flyer in the mail that said that I need to thank my congressman, Peter Roskam, for being a “champion” for seniors in the 6th District. I thought that it must be a joke. Because, based on his voting record, Roskam just received a ZERO (out of 100) rating from The Alliance for Retired Americans

As one of the seniors who lives in his district, I know that Roskam is lying when talks about how we can count on him to stick up for us. In fact, when it comes to his votes, the only thing seniors can count on from Roskam is that he will vote with his right wing pals to diminish what we have. Here are just a few of his recent “highlights”:

In 2013, he voted to raise the eligibility age for Medicare.

In 2014, he voted to increase Medicare premiums for seniors.

In 2017, he voted to privatize Medicare and increase premiums by 25%.

In 2018, he voted to raid the Social Security trust funds of $2.9 trillion to pay for his irresponsible tax law that blew up the federal deficit.

So, forgive me if I don’t rush to say thanks to Roskam.  While he tries to falsely paint himself as a “champion” of seniors, he actually votes to pick our pockets.

Jerry Freda, Inverness