Chad Broughton, faculty director of the Chicago Studies program, pushed for public school reform after explaining the history of Chicago’s ethnic migrations at the School of Social Service Administration Thursday.
Explaining that mass migration leads to social isolation and segregation, which adds to the concentration of poverty and the decline of social organization, Broughton called for educational reforms to “address the place, the isolation, [and] the poverty,” he said.
“There’s attrition [at] all stages of this systemic failure” of public schools, he said. According to Broughton, Chicago Public Schools have a high school graduation rate of 50 percent and a college attendance rate of six percent. “The question is, how did we get here?”
However, Broughton was optimistic that things would improve. He pointed to a large subset of undergraduates majoring in public policy who have strong interests in local schools and neighborhoods. “It’s an exciting time for education on campus,” he said.
The lecture, the first of a series of public discussions on combating local poverty, was followed by a question-and-answer session, in which community members voiced frustration concerning the practicality of research without tangible applications.
Some students in the audience said the University’s administration is lagging behind those who take initiatives in community service. “The University could definitely do more,” fourth-year English major Marisa Adam said. “Part of the Core should have to do with the community. We need to hear voices in the community that affect our lives directly.”
Adam said she felt like the lecture was the first organized event that catered to issues in the community.