Chicago parking meters funding charter school

I’ve hated those &#@% Chicago parking meters ever since Mayor Daley privatized them and I got a $50 ticket on Mothers’ Day 2010. It was right after the new system was installed across the street from my church (no signs up – and the hours for the meter were changed over the weekend).

So, now I read that Chicago Parking Meters –the company that Mayor Daley sold us out to — recently gave a $10,000 gift to a charter high school.

That’s not quite as bad as when the ComEd/Exelon CEOs built themselves a charter school which they named after themselves. The (John “Exelon”) Rowe- (Frank “ComEd”) Clark Math and Science Academy started off with a sweet $4.2 million donation from the top guys and, of course, all of us who use electricity in Chicago.

So, I learned about the parking meter largesse as I was looking at the charter school’s web site to confirm something disturbing I heard about the school the other night.

Their web site describes “Parking Meter” charter school’s grading, assessment, promotion and graduation system, which is somewhat different from that of traditional CPS schools. There are three academic levels, and students must successfully complete each one before moving to the next. What the web site does not say, but what a recent visitor to the school told me, is that students must leave the school if they have not successfully completed a level in a set amount of time.

“Parking Meter” charter school is one of the growing number of Chicago charter high schools that have taken to bragging about the large percentage of their graduates who go on to college. Skeptics want to know how the schools get those numbers. In some cases, such as with “100%” Urban Prep, we know that many of the students who start out as freshmen are long gone by senior year, and UP does not count these drop-outs/push-outs/?-?s in figuring their 100%.

“Parking Meter” charter school claims that it graduated 100% of its class of 2010. It also brags about being 1st among ALL CPS high schools in the percentage of its graduates who go on to college or post-secondary education.

The official CPS annual charter report for 2010 states that the school’s graduation rate for 2010 was 83%, and characterizes its transfer out rate as “high.” The school’s web site notes that it does not accept new juniors or seniors.

So, where does the truth lie? Something to think about the next time you drop a handful of quarters in a Chicago parking meter.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Uncategorized

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