Chicago Mayor Faces Backlash After Proposing Revised High School Graduation Requirement

By Abbie Kraft, Parent Herald April 11, 05:25 am
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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel gathered backlash after he proposed a revised the HS graduation requirement.
(Photo : Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel went through boiling waters after he gathered negative feedback for his plan to update the high school graduation requirements. Parents and other school officials were disappointed with the changes as they mentioned that Emanuel seems to disregard their needs and the problems they face due to institutional discrimination.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced his plans in raising the bar in terms of high school graduation requirements. He mentioned that part of the new graduation plan includes a college acceptance letter; a military acceptance/enlistment letter; acceptance at a job program (e.g. coding boot camp); acceptance into a trades pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship; acceptance into a "gap-year" program; or current job/job offer letter, as per NPR.

The new high school graduation requirement plan is tagged as "Learn, Plan, Succeed- A Degree For Life." His plans are said to be rolled out by 2020.

Emanuel's plan, however, earned negative feedback, especially among black and Latino communities. Reports claimed that students who belonged to black and Latino families are often deprived of their privileges to enter college. Moreover, these students were often caught struggling as they attend under-resourced and overcrowded high school campuses.

Reports explained that the main goal of the new graduation requirement is to challenge the children's mindset. According to the Chicago Tribune, parents were also being encouraged to push their students to effectively perform in school and exert value into their education.

"Just like you do with your children, college, post-high school, that is what's expected," Emanuel said at a Wednesday morning news conference. "If you change expectations, it's not hard for kids to adapt."

Gaining a college acceptance letter is said to be one of the most difficult things to attain for the high school students belonging to the black and Latino communities as discrimination may be unavoided. His proposal surprises education experts who questioned his motives. It is still uncertain if his plans will be rolled out but the negative feedback for the new requirements can potentially make the implementation challenging.

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