– By Jenny Alexander. Jenny is a professor of Child Development at the Chicago City Colleges.
Mayor Emanuel and his appointed City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor, Cheryl Hyman, have made the decision to close all of the Child Development programs at five of the City Colleges and consolidate the program to one location at Truman College, which is located on the far north side.
This top-down administrative action disproportionately affects traditionally under-served communities particularly on the west and south side neighborhoods of Chicago, and it has wide ranging consequences for current college students, potential students and, perhaps most importantly, to young children and their families.
The Child Development Department of the City Colleges of Chicago serves students, families, children and early childhood centers in six distinct Chicago communities. Our program is unique and dynamic. Our programs support both the missions of our individual colleges and the goals of Reinvention. Each individual community that we serve benefits from our program.
Child Development students attend the Community College that best suits themselves, their families and their work.
This decision was made without input from the impacted communities including many community-based organizations who provide services to young children and their families.
This decision is a great disservice to our students and the communities we serve.
With this decision, Chicago citizens from the south and west sides will lose access to a high quality, nationally recognized education in Child Development that is currently available to them within their communities, but will be lost as of Fall 2016.
The Child Development faculty team from six City Colleges that have offered the Child Development degree programs are concerned that Mayor Emanuel and Chancellor Hyman do not fully understand or appreciate the value of community-based education as this decision clearly goes against the mission of community colleges, which is to serve citizens within the communities in which they live, learn, and work.