In the face of significant opposition, Chicago’s Board of Education voted to approve a controversial plan for Ames Middle School in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood. The board, with the backing of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 26th ward alderman, Roberto Maldonado, approved the plan to convert Ames into the city’s next military service academy.
“We conducted a scientific poll, with the help of a professional research firm, “ Maldonado says. “And we found 72% of parents of the people we polled are in favor and support bringing the Marine Math & Science Academy here.”
But at an emotional Board of Ed meeting today, opponents voiced their displeasure. “In our community, Marine Academy is not welcome,” one parent says. “Look for another place.”
Many parents say the school board and Alderman Maldonado failed to get input from the Ames community. And they say they’ve got thousands of signatures from Logan Square residents, opposing the conversion.
Despite the criticism, Maldonado says he’s convinced the new Marine Academy will be a great opportunity for many families – pointing to service leadership academies across the city – with substantially higher attendance and graduation rates and close to 90% of graduates going on to college.