A Behind the Scenes Look at Chicago Public School Education

WBEZ’s radio reporter, Linda Lutton

By Ben Armstrong

Linda Lutton has been on the Chicago “education beat” for the past decade and, last Tuesday night, she gave a first-hand account of her year embedded in an inner-city 4th grade class.

Unlike other experts who might present policy options, Linda came as a seasoned observer with a deep background of education and her own experience as a parent of three kids.

The availability of public schools is supposed to ensure that poor kids with a good education stand to do as well as any kid in the U.S.  Linda tells a different story: that economics remain the dominant factor in the quality of education in America, and in the chance of achieving the American Dream.

For 50-years, U.S. policy makers’ tinkering with public education has taken many names: school reform, curricular reform, the Comer Method, Success for All, Whole School Reform, No Child Left Behind, and charter schools.  Despite these programs typically targeting the poorest schools in the poorest neighborhoods, the quality of education provided remains well below average.

Linda Lutton is a wonderful storyteller, and—although a replay is not available of her Kenilworth Union Church Public Affairs presentation—you can listen to the original broadcast of  The View From Room 205: Can schools make the American Dream real for poor kids?