Ver la versión completa : Chicago school chief proposes gay campus

José Benito
12/10/2008, 01:43
Chicago school chief proposes gay campus (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/6048056.html)

Official hopes school will reduce the dropout rate

Chicago Tribune

Oct. 8, 2008, 10:41PM

CHICAGO — The head of Chicago's public schools on Wednesday recommended that the school board approve plans for 20 new schools, including the district's first high school aimed at homosexual teenagers.
The announcement of the schools, which are expected to open in the fall of 2009 and 2010, took place at the Chicago International Charter School's Ralph Ellison Campus. Public hearings on the proposed schools are expected before the Board of Education votes on them Oct. 22.
The proposed schools included a technology focused high schools and the School for Social Justice Pride Campus, which officials said would cater to but not focus exclusively on gay youth.
Backers said they envision a small high school offering a college-preparatory curriculum in which students would take four years each of English and math, three years each of foreign languages and science, as well as fine arts and physical education. It would be a performance school, meaning it would have the same oversight requirements as other schools.
"If you look at national studies, you see gay and lesbian students with high dropout rates ... studies show they are disproportionately homeless," Chicago Public Schools Chief Arne Duncan said. "I think there is a niche there we need to fill."
Supporters have said the school would help students find a safe school environment because studies have shown that homosexual youths are at a greater risk of dropping out of school and abusing drugs and alcohol, and are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide. A 2003 district survey shows that such youths are three times more likely to miss school because they don't feel safe.
Opponents have called the move a misuse of public money. At a recent public hearing on the proposal, some gay rights advocates have said the move would segregate students and said the district should work more on fostering acceptance by mainstream students, teachers and other school officials.
The plan comes from the people who run the Greater Lawndale Little Village High School for Social Justice. They say the new campus would be open to all students, but would especially seek to foster a violence-free atmosphere for students who are often targeted for their sexual identities.
Duncan has said that he envisions a school where about half of its students would be gay while the other half would be straight students with an interest in the social justice focus school officials want to foster.
New York has a similar high school, named for pioneering San Francisco politician Harvey Milk. Opened in 2003, the school has a student body of less than 100. In Chicago, officials expect a school of up to 600 students, and those familiar with the project expect a high population of minorities.
Officials initially said that they didn't expect opening the school until 2012.
The schools announced Wednesday are part of the district's Renaissance 2010 initiative.