A School Divided: Carter G. Woodson School in Chicago

12 Jul

Carter G. Woodson School

I learned about Carter G. Woodson School in Chicago on Thursday, and was absolutely heartbroken.  The information I am about to share is strictly third party as I had never heard of the school before yesterday.  However, the concept behind the school is very funky if what I was told is true.

Carter G. Woodson has two schools in one building.   One school is run by Chicago Public Schools, the other school is a charter school run by the University of Chicago.  From what I was told, there is a wall that separates the two schools.  Not only does the wall separate each group physically; it separates them intellectually and socially.

According to what I was told, the children are not allowed to interact with each other; therefore, they have different break and dismissal times.  That’s the physical disconnection.  Intellectually, the charter school children are being prepared for college and ultimately corporate America.  Looking at CPS’ track record, the kids on the other side of the school is looking at a good 5 years…in prison.  Lastly, these two programs are examples of the division of race and class in America.  How?  You have young Black children with similar backgrounds with the same opportunities (ideally), but physical, intellectual, and social restrictions are placed on some while other are encouraged to grow.  

Like I said, I had not heard about the school before yesterday, but I can say that there is irony in the school.  Carter G. Woodson was an African American scholar, educator and historian.  He was brilliant.  Also, he wrote The Mis-Education of the Negro.  Do you see the irony of the school named after Mr. Woodson who was a scholar that believed in education and felt that Negroes were being mis-educated?  One side of the educational institution is educating students while the other is mis-educating.  Nice!

I am going to try to visit the school in the near future to take a look for myself.  In the meantime, you read my thoughts about Carter G. Woodson School in Chicago on As NOT Seen on TV.

Note: The photo was taken from cps.edu website.


2 Responses to “A School Divided: Carter G. Woodson School in Chicago”

  1. Tracey July 16, 2009 at 8:55 pm #


    My son will be an 8th grader at Carter G. Woodson this fall. My daughter is a graduate. Both my children have been involved in this school since its inception.

    I have been at the school on many ocassions and have not been given the impression by either the school environment nor the school administration that the perceived separation of school is anything but a quality control issue.

    It would be a mad house for the teachers, parents, and the community if both schools were let out at the same time or shared similar break schedules. Have you been around a bunch of middle high students? I recently took a trip and was responsible for six of them. It was exhausting both mentally and physically trying to manager them, to watch out for their well-being.

    The faculty, administration and parents of that school are extraordinary. They are all committed to the same cause–a quality education for their kids. It is unfortunate that the school and students that share space with them are not getting the same quality of education (if that, in fact, is the case) or have been exposed to the same opportunities, but that fault cannot be blamed on Woodson.

    As usual, our outrage is misguided. Ron Huberman is the new President of the CTA. Richard Daley is the Mayor. The community should be outraged and address their concerns to the people who are failing those families and not direct their anger at Carter.

    The administration, parents, students and teachers at Woodson should be applauded not criticized for a job well done.

    • Marcie July 20, 2009 at 9:07 am #

      Thank you for sharing your insights and your experience. Do you know of other parents who can share their experiences?

      I have never been there, but I do intend to do so in the near future.

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