As a mayor, Rahm Emanuel is often criticized for his approach to solving Chicago’s problems. His proposal on increasing CPS graduation rates was no different.
The plan in question calls for CPS students to not be allowed to graduate until they offer some evidence that their next step in life is planned out. This evidence would come in the form of a college acceptance letter, a job offer or even acceptance into the military.
“Just like you do with your children, college, post-high school, that is what’s expected,” Emanuel said, according to The Chicago Tribune. “If you change expectations, it’s not hard for kids to adapt.”
How did Rahm Emanuel get to this point?
The controversy arises when it’s suggested that CPS wouldn’t allow students to graduate without following through with this plan. As if high school students weren’t already overwhelmed with the pressure of what’s ahead of them, now they may have to worry about even graduating from high school while they figure it out.
CPS officials were made aware of the public’s disapproval of the plan and provided more details in an attempt to pacify their concerns.
“The goal of Learn Plan Succeed is to have students start planning and thinking about their future so they can achieve their goals with the help of passionate counselors, staff, and educators,” Emily Bolton, Deputy Press Secretary of Academics for Chicago Public Schools, told The Root.
How does this affect high school students?
Bolton went on to explain that the plan wouldn’t restrict high school students to finding a job, attending college or joining the military. Instead, it will also allow them to graduate if they showed proof of being accepted into a trade, job program or are accepted into a gap year program.
Still, while the intentions of Emanuel’s plan are clearly in the right place, it sounds as if it would force students to make rushed long-term choices or face the consequences of losing out on a high school diploma they otherwise earned.
Encouraging students to further themselves is always commendable. However, it shouldn’t be something forced upon them with hefty consequences if they don’t do it on someone else’s schedule.