Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Militarization of Ames: The Real Meaning of the DREAM Act

I just received notice that an announcement will be made by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today at 1:30 p.m. that Ames Middle School in Logan Square will be converted to a military academy.

This action has been threatened for a long time, and the local community has fought it tooth and nail.

Below are some facts and figures provided by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), showing why this is the wrong move for this neighborhood school.

Sometimes, however, we need to step back from the details to get the big picture.  The big picture, in this case, is that the most powerful political operative in the Obama camp -- Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel -- is showing the real workings of the immigration policy that Obama and the Democrats have created.
Step 1: You can become documented if you help fill the ranks of the U.S. military after high school. (See the DREAM Act.)

Step 2: We'll help you get used to the idea by turning your high school into a military academy.
Ames serves a largely Spanish-speaking community. Is the militarization of Ames anything other than a signal of what the Democratic party means by equitable treatment for immigrants?

A prediction: The U.S. government will be watching to see how people react to the militarization of Ames. If people accept it . . . it will become the newest "solution" on immigration, military recruitment, and public education.

Related posts

I was marching with other protesters at Chicago Public Schools (CPS) headquarters in September. In addition to massive teacher layoffs, we were trying to stop the conversion of the Ames School, in the Logan Square neighborhood, into a military academy.

(See Chicago Needs Schools for Education, not for War and Occupation)

For those not already familiar with the situation in Chicago: at a time when the City cannot be bothered to figure out how to run its own schools, but is instead closing dozens at a time, our leaders somehow think it's appropriate to let branches of the U.S. military have the run of the school and recruit kids -- and in some cases outright convert the school into a military academy. Parents in the Logan Square neighborhood are fighting a valiant effort to stop that from happening to the Ames School.

(See Stop Playing "Ender's Game" With Chicago's Young People)

A big Hollywood production of Ender's Game is scheduled for release on November 1. It's a perfect opportunity for us to ask: Are we happy seeing our schools turned into "Battle Schools"?

(See "Ender's Game" and the Militarization of Youth: Can We Talk About This? )

Facts about Ames

The following information was supplied by Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA)

(1) Marine had only 26.6% of its students meeting or exceeding standards in reading in 2012, and 32.9% in math. Compare this to Ames, which had 59.7% meeting or exceeding standards in reading in 2012, and 73.3% in math. Also, Marine had 20.3 at or above in science, vs. 64% at Ames.

(2) Marine is a “drop out factory.” Marine only graduated 56.5% of the 122 students who entered as freshmen in 2010 (less than the citywide average) A selective military school will PUSH OUT students with special learning needs and students who don’t fit in. Marine claims a 88.5% graduation rate, but the fact is that 122 students entered as freshmen in 2010 and only 79 were left as seniors in 2013. That is a 65% dropout/pushout rate over the 4 years. 88.5% times 79 = 69 graduates, for a 4 year graduation rate of 56.5%

(3) Marine has a reported 52.3% chronic truancy rate (Illinois School Report Card 2012). Marine has a 91.5% attendance rate. Ames attendance is 93.2%.

(4) Last school year Ames parents did a door-to-door community survey around the school. 87.39% of the 357 persons surveyed do not want a military high school at Ames. Parents fought all year against a takeover, attending every possible CPS or education meeting to plead their case.

(5)Above all, Ames is a Community School, with extensive before and after school activities, and a community clinic build for the community by its Elev8 grant administered by the Logan Square Neighborhood Assn. Current programs in addition to after-school academics include a neighborhood-wide youth orchestra, Mikva Challenge Peace and Leadership program, Press and Media Club with a TV station, BUILD prevention/intervention program. 140 youth participate in 15 youth programs. 60 adults participate in 6 adult programs.

Marine lists 9 JROTC classes but no art, music, theater, or other electives.

(6) Ames sits surrounded by 4 elementary schools, it is the center of an education campus in SW Logan Square.