Bold Advocacy to Lift Chicago’s Public Schools

Communities In Schools CEO Dale Erquiaga and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s Chicago Tribune op-ed asks corporations to provide a needed spark.

There’s little argument in this country about the importance of educating our young people. Finding adequate funding to do so and an approach that works for each community is another story.

The Chicago Public Schools system has unique challenges that require new ways of thinking. Enter Dale Erquiaga, president and CEO of Communities In Schools, and Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education and now managing partner of Chicago CRED, a nonprofit that connects young men to jobs and opportunity.

Erquiaga and Duncan teamed up to write an op-ed, published in the Chicago Tribune, with a bold challenge to corporations. You have a role to play here, they wrote:

What it will take to improve all students’ chances is complex, but it’s not a mystery. In Chicago and across the country, school districts, private social service organizations and corporations are joining forces to create the scaffolding every student needs to do well in school and in life. For Chicago Public Schools — America’s fastest-improving urban school district — we believe such an all-hands-on-deck approach to education will accelerate progress even further and sustain it for decades to come.

Chicago’s corporations can be the spark for that leap forward. Many of them have built a generous legacy in Chicago already, and we challenge those forerunners and other local businesses to underscore even further their commitment to the students and future of this city. At a time of shrinking education budgets, they have the opportunity to pick up the slack and help write education history.

(Read the full piece, which also appeared in the Trib’s print edition, here.)

Communities In Schools, a national nonprofit dedicated to keeping students in school, plays a key role in 2,300 schools in 25 states and the District of Columbia. It and our other clients like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Read Aloud 15 MINUTES and others understand that education is about more than classrooms, and that preparing our children for bright futures means we all have to play a part in lighting their paths.