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‘After generations of failure,’ Ford hoping to see CPS learning improve

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(The Center Square) – A new Public Agenda poll finds that most city residents don’t think Chicago Public Schools students are learning enough, with most of the blame tied to the levels of poverty faced by most students.

The survey, conducted in conjunction with WBEZ and the Joyce Foundation, also found that most city residents give the system an overall grade of C and feel that the lack of learning largely stems from the staggering levels of poverty affecting most CPS students.

Illinois state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, laments the poll only confirms what he’s always known.

“CPS for generations has failed families … generations have been neglected,” Ford told The Center Square. “The way it is, if you’re born in poverty and you are a student in a family that’s attending a Chicago public school, you will probably continue to live in poverty and probably die in poverty because education is the … key to making sure that you have a path out.”

Recent data shows that nearly three out of every four CPS students (71%) come from low-income families and that most parents think the money already allocated for the system is not being spent effectively.

Still, Ford says he still holds out hope for the system, especially given some of the recent steps taken by Mayor Brandon Johnson and his administration.

“The mayor is saying let’s have some equity,” Ford said. “There’s a lot of areas that I have concern with the city’s governance, but I feel confident that the mayor has a handle and understanding of the need to have equitable funding and fair access to high quality education.”

Ford said he understands it’s Johnson’s view that selective enrollment schools are not being equitable and that has to change.