Chicago Drastically Changes High School Graduation For everyone

September 6, 2017 - By 

Chicago is a global city in that it is a destination. The city of Chicago passes high marks in many different areas but there has also been a deeper, darker underbelly to the gorgeous skyline and lakeside view: high school kids just are not graduating. Chicago is a city that has a real problem with education and a recent plan was developed by Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The new plan? High school students who graduate MUST have a plan set in place for what they are going to do after, or they run the risk of not receiving their diploma.

Obviously this new requirement, which will be put into effect some time in 2020, has gotten a ton of attention around both the city of Chicago and the rest of the country. Chicago’s high school drop out rate is sitting near 30% so changes obviously need to be made, but is this really the thing that is going to do it? Chris Cleveland, a chairman for the Chicago Republican Party, is just one of the many critics of the brazen new rule. Cleveland was quick to go to the press upon hear of the new rule by asking what many will soon echo: “How can they deny a high school kid a diploma he or she has earned?”

For Rahm Emanuel and the backers behind this controversial new decision it seems like the focus is largely on putting kids on a track to success. In order to receive your diploma after graduating high school, starting in 2020, students must provide evidence as to what they plan to do once they graduate. Acceptable evidence includes their plan to attend a college, plans to join the military, a full time job, or even trade school. Emanuel supporters like DeAvio Gillarm, a recent graduate from Morgan Park High School, believe that getting kids to focus on the future can be a huge benefit.

The controversial plan right now is known by the name, “Learn. Plan. Succeed.” The new rule was agreed upon in May and the Chicago Public School system will be the largest urban area to ever put in such a laborious requirement. The public school system in Chicago services nearly 400,000 students so any rule is going to have a huge impact on a massive amount of the city’s population. Mayor Emanuel hopes that this new plan will increase Chicago’s lacking numbers in post-high school education rates.

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