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Emanuel after school plan: enhanced "lighted school house"

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below, from Emanuel campaign....


This morning, mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel discussed his plan to keep our children safe during the after-school hours when youth violence is highest. By expanding after-school opportunities, Rahm's plan will provide children in every community the opportunity to participate in a range of academic, artistic and athletic extra-curricular activities. Such programs have been proven to both accelerate children's academic progress and reduce violent crime.


Comprehensive after-school programming to keep kids safe and learning

Of the 435 murders in Chicago last year, nearly half of the victims were between the ages of 10 and 25. A majority of those and other violent crimes happen in the hours when children are not in school. Providing opportunities for youth to be engaged in educational, artistic and athletic activities will reduce the likelihood that our children will become involved in the cycle of violence that effects too many of our neighborhoods.

Access to after-school programming is a win-win for our children: it is shown to both increase academic progress and reduce violence. Rahm will task the incoming Chicago Public Schools CEO with finalizing a system-wide afterschool program to be implemented at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year.

While the details will be worked out with non-profit partners, teachers and CPS officials, Rahm will require that the program meet several basic requirements:

(1) The program must run five days a week for the entirety of the school year. It must run at least two-and-a-half hours per day.

(2) The program must offer opportunities in three areas - academics, arts and athletics. The mix will allow all students to extend their academic learning day by an hour each day, and add on an elective in sports or cultural arts for an additional hour.

(3) The program will be staffed through a mix of teachers and community-based non-profit staff, and would be coordinated by the new Director of Family and Community Engagement that Rahm proposed as part of his education plan. The Director will have access to a menu of programs and professionals that would be vetted by the central office. Each school would have the flexibility to individualize its offerings based on local needs.

(4) The program should reach the most at-risk youth and be used to incentivize parental involvement. Those parents who stick by their commitment in the parent-teacher contract will get priority spots for their children in after-school programs.

(5) Almost all CPS children are eligible for a "third meal option" - a snack or a hot meal after school - that they would receive during the after-school hours. The cost for this meal is covered by the federal government.

The cost of the program is estimated at $95 million per year. The majority of funding would come from current sources - for example, the $50 million received for Supplemental Education Services through Title 1 federal funding, and the current $15 million used for after-school programming in a less coordinated manner.

Much of the federal funding is restricted to specific types of programming, so the remaining $30 million would be raised from two sources - $5 million can be raised through school partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations that want to target specific schools and communities with innovative after-school programming, and $25 million from new advertising revenues that will be earmarked for enhanced educational opportunities. This would include new ads on the City's vehicle stickers, on garbage trucks, and at other public venues, like farmers' markets. The specific approaches will be finalized as part of Rahm's broader plan to bring in outside experts to identify and prioritize potential assets where advertising would be appropriate. The team will provide both a revenue estimate and a recommended process for implementing the plan. On all of the assets, Rahm will ensure there are adequate disclaimers and limitations on the extent to which advertising will be allowed.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 4, 2011 12:32 PM.

Four major Chicago mayoral candidates debate Jan. 27 was the previous entry in this blog.

Rahm Emanuel can run, Cook County judge rules is the next entry in this blog.

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