Posted on January 15, 2009 11:56 PM
FLIP Participant Interviews Chicago Education Leader
By Lynda Lopez, FLIP Participant
The following was written by Lynda Lopez, a participant in CMAP's Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP) program. Lynda attends Prosser Career Academy High School in Chicago. Below, she describes her opportunity via FLIP to interview Josh Edelman, the Executive Officer of the Chicago Public Schools Office of New Schools.
This is an example of how the FLIP program can enhance students’ understanding of complex planning issues and to provide students with information about our region, including human services such as education. At CMAP, we firmly believe that students like Lynda will be the ones who lead our region as we "GO TO 2040."
What’s that, I wondered. The first time I ever encountered this term was in my art class when my friend brought it up during one of our conversations.
"Lynda, what do you think about Ren2010?
"Um, what’s that?
That one moment of confusion sent me on a ride towards understanding this complex idea that revolves around Ren2010. I soon began to conduct research on the subject on my spare time. I went on websites and read countless research studies. I gained a vast array of knowledge just by doing so, but now I had even more questions. Why do some schools close while others do not? Why is Ren2010 seen as the possible solution to the educational problem? My mind swirled with questions, but that only motivated me to pursue this topic even further.
I soon was given a chance to write an article for the Chicago Tribune about Ren 2010 and its implications and that gave me further chance to delve deeper into the topic. I interviewed John Meyers from the magazine Catalyst Chicago and a couple of other experts on the topic, including one of CMAP’s very own.
My article was soon published and I was happy that it received such a great response from the teachers at my school. The topic directly affects them so they had ardent opinions on the topic. After the publication, I wondered where do I go from here? I felt that not enough students cared about the topic so I was a bit discouraged. That is when my friend, Mrs. Diana Torres and the FLIP program offered me an opportunity of a lifetime; the chance to meet the director of this controversial program, Mr. Josh Edelman.
The day of the interview with Mr. Edelman soon came and I was jittery with nerves. What if he doesn’t take me seriously? What I run out of questions? What if I get tongue tied? So many questions clouded my mind but I was determined to make a good impression and to get the answers I needed from him.
As the interview began, I quickly began to listen to Mr. Edelman and what he had to offer in regards to the program. He seemed to believe adamantly in the belief that each school should have a mission and a unique curriculum to its students. He felt that charter schools were ultimately more successful because of the close-knit community feel that they have to offer, and Noble Street Charter School was one of his examples as a shining charter school. "I would be proud to send me children to Noble," Edelman said. The studies denouncing Ren2010 swirled through my mind. Well, of course he is going to want to me believe in this program, but others have shared the negative aspects of Ren 2010, including that some students have suffered from the relocation of schools. In the end, I realized that are always two sides to every issue.
As the interview drew to a close, I felt that it had been a success and I decided to lighten the mood just a bit by poking fun at Mr. Edelman. I asked him about the rumor of him being a bookworm and he started laughing and explained the value of reading. The interview closed with a nice and cheerful ending.
I can honestly say that I learned a good deal about the educational standards and what people are expected and not expected to help our children with. This interview was hopefully only the continuation of my study of education with a focus on Renaissance 2010.
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