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Pass the Charter: A Guide To Chicago's New Schools

The city's raft of magnet and charter schools have become so specialized that this year the Chicago Public School district found itself compelled to open a school (the Chicago International Charter School-Ralph Ellison - not to be confused with the Chicago Virtual Charter School ) focusing on "reading, writing, and arithmetic."

Among the other new schools offered up by CPS this year: The Austin Business & Entrepreneurship Academy, for budding young business leaders hoping, we presume, to deal in human fulfillment; the Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School, for the performing arts, possibly with a focus on sea shanties; and the Sherman School of Excellence, focusing on "shared governance," which means the mayor won't be visiting any time soon.

Here are 15 charter and magnet schools under consideration for next year.

1. The McDonald's School of Culinary Arts (grades 8 to 10). Students passing the McSCAT will advance directly into fry cook positions.

2. The NCAA Charter School of the Physical Arts (pre-K to 12). An elite development program with intensive after-school programs and field trips.

3. The English As a First Language Minuteman Academy (K to 8th). An affirmative action school for white folks who feel threatened by a changing world. Legal citizenship required, though a passing score on a citizenship test is not.

4. The School of Social Promotion (K to 12th). Students must meet an income requirement and have a job already lined up for them by their parents.

5. The Magnet School. (9th to 12th) Prepares students for careers in the magnet industry.

6. The Young Anchorman's Academy (9th to 12th). For students interested in the blow-dried arts.

7. The Uptown Downsizing Academy (9th to 12th). Prepares future business leaders in the economics of workplace wealth transfer.

8. The Illinois School of Budget Mathematics (12th-grade only). Brief but intensive coursework in obfuscation, rose-colored projectionism, and election-year gimmickery.

9. The ACT Excellence in Testing Academy (11th-grade only). Students will spend their year drilling in the ACT, much like in regular CPS high schools, only with ACT-certified instructors.

10. The Attendance Academy (9th to 12th). No child will be left behind.

11. The Department of City Planning School of City Planning (9th to 12th). A charter school located in City Hall but taught by the city's leading developers.

12. The Chicago School of Electoral Mathematics (pre-K to 12th). Practical applications of math, such as the geometry of U.S. congressional districts, the algebra of racial blocs, and political calculus.

13. The Haven of Patronage Charter School of Chicago (9th to 12th). Acceptance limited to those sent by somebody.

14. The Daley Country Day School (K to 12th). Specializing in contract law and the literature of denial.

15. The Charter School (9th to 12th). Educational instruction in developing your own for-profit charter school curriculum.

- Natasha Julius, Tim Willette, and Steve Rhodes


Posted on September 26, 2006

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