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Chicago Public Schools Wed May 22 2013

Nonprofit Breakfast Lets Students Shine During Difficult Times

In the midst of broken confidence in Chicago's education system, BuildOn, a nonprofit that establishes schools in developing countries and implements after school programs in urban cities hosted a fundraiser breakfast Tuesday at the Chicago Hilton. The hour and half morning event hosted by NBC 5 anchors Stefan Holt and Daniella Guzman drew business professionals, politicians and companies alike along with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Guests were greeted by excited Chicago buildOn students, who reminded us with their enthusiasm that negative news stories do not define them.

Mayor Emanuel, Jim Reynolds, CEO of Loop Capital, and Jim Ziolkowski, founder of buildOn, each spoke briefly about the organization along with testimonies from current buildOn member Alejandro Garcia and alumna Amanda Perez.

Jim Ziolkowski formed buildOn after witnessing the plight of poverty and hope of an education during a journey to Nepal after college graduation. Afterwards, he began his career at GE but was moved by the courageous people from his trip abroad that he ended his job and started buildOn. Twenty years later since its conception, buildOn has revolutionized into a global movement that transforms youth with accessible education and community service. In Chicago, buildOn has 30 youth programs where students have contributed to over 160,000 hours of community service.

Despite two moving testimonies, an inspirational video, and the wonderful presence of buildOn students and staff, there was no way to escape the irony of 50 school closings this year. In his remarks, Mayor Emanuel said, "The test of a great city is how they treat the next generation." I guess that includes consolidating massive numbers of schools, lack of investment in low-income neighborhoods and ignoring parental pleas and warnings.

Today, the Chicago Public School Board voted to close 50 schools. The educational quality of South and West Side schools should have encouraged protests and solutions decades ago but this is no excuse to implement these dangerous actions when there are no projected long-term educational benefits. Organizations such as buildOn and genuine leaders like Jim Ziolkowski prove to the most doubtful that Chicago children do not have to repeat the generational cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Even then, he still cannot do it alone.

 
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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

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Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

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It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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