Chicago’s Cradle-to-Grade Graduation Requirement

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Every now and then, public officials announce an ostensibly “get tough” education reform, ostensibly to make schools work better. Conversely, it usually involves more governmental control and less individual freedom.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, a veteran of the Clinton and Obama Administrations who also served in Congress, is a master of this sort of policy. “In April, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel laid down a mandate: Every public-school student in Chicago must have a destination in order to receive their high-school diploma,” Alia Wong writes in The Atlantic. “In other words, all Chicago Public Schools and public-charter-school students must have a postsecondary plan in order to graduate.”

“The idea is to ensure not only that the estimated 40 percent of CPS students without a plan don’t end up on the streets once they leave high school but also that they’re equipped with the know-how to fulfill their goals. A symbolic plan or verbal commitment won’t suffice. Students will need to present their school with an authorized document confirming their plan is being put into action, whether it’s a college or trade-school admissions letter or a signed agreement affirming they are enlisting in the military or have been hired for a job. Shortly after Emanuel announced the mandate, it was approved by the district’s school board. It will go into effect with the class of 2020, making CPS the first school district in the United States to have such a requirement, according to district officials.”

One thing that always made America unique among nations is that it is virtually the only country in the world in which citizens are not born into their jobs. Emmanuel’s edict moves the United States toward that predestination.