Chicago's School Plan May Lead to Lawsuits, Strikes, and Riots
Let's hope that Chicago's plan doesn't spread to other cities.
I live in Detroit, and I was concerned when I heard about the new plan that was recently announced by the Chicago public schools. I was particularly worried that the plan may spread to other cities. Suppose the Chicago plan is copied here in Detroit. The result would certainly be a disaster for the Detroit public schools. Suppose Chicago's plan is copied by other cities, it would mean disaster for them, too. The plan that was announced in Chicago puts certain restrictions on getting a high school diploma. In order to get a diploma in Chicago, a student must comply with any of these four conditions:
1. Join the military.
2. Get a job.
3. Get into a job training program.
4. Go to college.
The students must meet at least one of these four requirements, or they will not get their high school diploma. The Chicago school district announced that the plan would be fully implemented by 2020, so the graduating class of 2020 would be the first students who are subject to this plan. I believe that the plan may be illegal for several reasons. First of all, the plan may violate the reproductive rights of female students. In legal terms, the phrase 'reproductive rights' means more than simply choosing to have a baby or get an abortion, it also means the phenomenon of motherhood, itself. Suppose a female student in Chicago wants to get married and raise a family after she graduates from high school. She does not want to join the army, she does not want to get a job or get into a job training program, and she does not want to go to college. Suppose she wants to get married, have babies, and stay at home with her husband and raise her babies. The Chicago school district would say, 'Okay, you can do that, but if your ambition is to become a housewife, then you will not get a diploma'. So, in that case, she did not get a diploma simply because she chose to exercise her reproductive rights, and become a housewife. So, in this sense, Chicago's plan is illegal because it discriminates against female students, if they choose the traditional role of a housewife.
Suppose a student tells her teachers that she wants to become a housewife, and so she does not get a diploma. After she leaves high school, she gets married, and she has a few kids, and she stays at home taking care of her kids, while her husband works. Then suppose something happens to her husband. Suppose her husband is driving home from work one day, and he gets killed in a car accident. The woman then decides that she has to get a job, so she can earn some money and support her children. So, she makes plans to get a baby-sitter, and she starts looking for a job, but everywhere she goes, she is rejected because she does not have a high-school diploma! The lack of a high-school diploma would make it difficult for her to find a job. This is cruel and unfair!
Chicago's plan is illegal on other grounds, too. Suppose a student wants to join a religious order and live in a monastery after he graduates. A female student may choose to devote her life to religion and become a nun. In some religious orders, the monks, nuns and other devotees do not receive any salary, so life in a monastery does not qualify as a job. The Chicago public schools would say, 'Okay, you can join a monastery after you graduate, but that's not a job, so you do not get a diploma'. In that case, the students religious rights were violated.
Chicago's plan may be illegal on other grounds, too. Since one way to get the high school diploma is to join the army, the plan is tantamount to a military draft. I don't think the Chicago public schools has the authority to draft people into the army, or to use coercion to pressure people top join the army. The military draft was abolished when Nixon was president, and I don't think the mayor of Chicago has the authority to reinstate the draft, or to create some kind of de facto draft in Chicago. What he's talking about is a bona fide draft, it's a de facto draft, because being forced to join the army is the most likely outcome, in this plan. In some inner-city communities the unemployment rate for whites is ten or fifteen percent, and the unemployment rate for blacks is as high as forty percent. Faced with the hopeless prospect of finding a job, many of them will try to join the army, because they have no other choice.
The idea that they could join a job training program is a joke, how many job training programs are there in Chicago? The people who wrote this plan are naive, they must think there is a job training program on every street corner! And what about college? Does anybody out there think that inner-city kids in Chicago have enough money to pay for college tuition? This is ridiculous! We have to go to court, and we have to ask a judge to define a high school diploma. What is a high school diploma? Is a diploma simply an official document that states you have completed school, or is a diploma a legally binding contract? There is some question, as to whether the Chicago public schools has the right to push students into a legally binding contract. Slavery and servitude are illegal, under federal law. Slavery and servitude was outlawed when Abraham Lincoln was president, has Rahm Emanuel forgotten that fact? Suppose a student hears about mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan, and the student realizes that he is being forced to enter into a legally binding contract. The contract says, we gave you an education, and in order to get your diploma, you are required to join the army, go to college, get a job, or get into a job training program. The student then goes out an looks for a job, and suppose he goes to a Mc Donalds restaurant and they offer him job. They give him a letter that says they promise to give him a job, after he graduates from high school. The student takes the letter to school and shows it to his guidance counselor at school. The guidance counselor says, 'Okay, you've got a job, so we will give you your diploma'. So, at that point, the student is being held in servitude by Mc Donalds. Servitude is illegal under federal law.
Parents of students in Chicago could sue the school district. The lawsuits could cost the city of Chicago millions of dollars, if the city loses. If millions of dollars have to be paid out in lawsuits, the Chicago public schools may have to declare bankruptcy. If they declare bankruptcy, the state of Illinois government may have to put the Chicago public schools under the control of an emergency manager. The Detroit public schools were under the control of an emergency manager a few years ago, and the result was a lot of turmoil and a lot of unrest. If Chicago public schools go broke and get an emergency manager, the emergency manager will probably try to blame Chicago's problems on the teacher's union, and the teacher's union will probably go on strike. If hundreds, or thousands of students in Chicago are denied their diplomas, they could start riots. Indeed, race riots could start, if the majority of student who are denied are black. Does mayor Rahm Emanuel have enough money to rebuild the city if it's destroyed by race riots? I am going to write a letter to the A.C.L.U. and I am going to ask them if they can file a lawsuit against Rahm Emnauel and the Chicago Public Schools.