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Chicago makes planning ahead a graduation requirement

11 Juillet 2017

Every high school student is inevitably asked at some point about their plans for when they graduate.

Chicago Republican Party chairman Chris Cleveland, the parent of a public school student, said the Democratic mayor should instead focus on reducing a public high school dropout rate of almost 30%. It is important that the Chicago school system follow through with the counseling and related services (including outreach to parents) that will arm the neediest students with what they require to graduate - and then take that critical next step.

He told The Washington Post, "We are going to help kids have a plan, because they're going to need it to succeed".

Starting in 2020, under a plan championed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and unanimously approved by the school board, diplomas will be tied to students devising post-secondary plans.

However, for students in public high schools in Chicago, soon they'll be adding another requirement to that list - have a plan.

"Yes, it is a requirement, but we're going to support you to also ensure you have a post-high school educational plan", Emanuel said during a National Press Club event last month.

"I can not in good conscience as a mayor allow the other 40% to not have a plan that the economy will require of them later in life", he said. He said that no students should be deprived of his or her high school diploma merely on the basis of the fact that they have not yet gained admission into a course or because they are not employed. "Will achieving this require more of us?" "The school system of K through 12 is not applicable to the world and the economy and the world that our high school students are graduating to". He wanted the focus to be switched to the 30% high school dropout rate here, which is quite high.

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The school system laid off almost 500 teachers and more than 1,000 support staff in 2015, but Janice Jackson, chief education officer for the public schools, said the new initiative will not place additional strain on the workload of guidance counselors.

Janice Jackson, chief education officer for the public schools, told CNN the school hopes to raise $1 million to hire eight additional college and career coaches, so additional strain isn't placed on the already overwhelmed staff.

Emanuel said: "The city of Chicago is moving toward a pre-K to college model". "We want to make 14th grade universal".

The plan targets students who do not have the proper support at home to effectively plan for their future.

But critics are not convinced.

"Sounds like a good plan on paper, but I also wonder what do kids know what they want to do at or accomplish at 17 years old", Lewis said.

Chicago makes planning ahead a graduation requirement