Insurgents Fend off Navy at Senn High School (Chicago Illinois)

At a raucous school meeting last week, a vocal group of parents and teachers and students at Senn High School apparently staved off an attemp by the Board to add a new 500-student Navy JROTC program to the school -- for now.

It's happened before, and it'll happen again. What's most interesting is that it was the usually unseen David Pickens, Deputy CEO to Arne Duncan, rather than usual frontman Greg Richmond, who was sent out from Clark Street to do the talking for the Board. Do they horsengoggle each time to see who is going, or is Richmond's star already fading?

Also worth noting is that no one at CPS brainquarters appreciated the obvious and growing wartime politics of proposing a new Navy program while kids are dying in Iraq. (The Reader highlights the fact that initially CPS was thinking of putting the new Navy program at Arai -- where Pickens was once an AP -- but was scared off by 46th ward Alderman Helen Shiller, who apparently didn't want "a military school" in her ward.) Even the often-prescient Teach and Learn deemed the proposed Navy invasion "winnable" for CPS. Maybe six months ago it was.

Last but not least, while the Reader's Ben Jarovsky calls the Board's effort to push the Navy program into Senn "one of the goofiest top-down decisions to come out of the central office in years," I'm guessing that the folks who faced down the Mid-South plan (at least temporarily) or who have been protesting Renaissance 2010 would say different. Indeed, the Board seems increasingly chock full of goofy top-down decisions these days, and seems in some danger of losing its formerly deft touch at just the wrong moment.

Military academy opposed at Senn (Chicago Tribune), Protesters fear military invasion (CBS2), Get the military out of our schools (Socialist Worker), School for Sale (Chicago Reader), not available online, Chicago high school students boot the navy out (Infoshop.org).


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