By Chris Welch, CNN
Chicago, Illinois (CNN) – Dante Culbreath is head football coach at Simeon Career Academy on Chicago’s south side. It’s safe to say the football program here is a powerhouse - they’ve won six city titles in the state public school division.
Many of the team's seniors are scouted by some of the biggest-name colleges and universities, and this year should be no different.
However, as the Chicago teachers strike continues, the threat that many of this year’s top athletes will miss some crucial games is a real one.
"Simeon is known for getting kids in Division I programs," Culbreath said. "It'll be pretty bad if our guys can't get out and play football, because a lot is riding on them being able to play football."
The junior varsity football team at Simeon is already missing out. Their first game was set for Monday, the first day of the strike.
"It's already serious because every time we step on the football field it's an interview for us. No matter what level it is. I have young men being offered scholarships as sophomores."
One of Culbreath’s standouts this year is offensive lineman Kendall Moore. Moore says he’s been offered a few scholarships already, but being able to play all his games this season could mean more opportunities and more options.
"It’s very important because after college I want to start my career," Moore said.
He and his mother, Khem Davis, said that without a scholarship, college would be out of reach.
"It is a must-have. Otherwise it would be impossible for us to afford for him to go to a college that’s worthy," Davis said. FULL POST
By Xian Barrett, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Xian Barrett teaches law and Chicago history at Gage Park High School in Chicago. In 2010 he was selected one of 10 Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellows by the U.S. Department of Education. He can be found on Twitter at @xianb8.
Sunday night, as Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced the first Chicago teachers’ strike in 25 years, I posted a short piece explaining why I felt striking was the right decision.
I understood, especially in these tough economic times, that striking can be an unpopular choice, but I wrote it with some rage at the lack of empathy and understanding I felt as an educator. I wrote it with the hope people would understand that we made this tough choice in the interests of our students.
As I reflect back on the first day of the Chicago Teachers Union strike, I know many are still angry. I hope that those who are angry with us would put aside their party affiliation and personal opinions on unions. Some critics reminded me that this needs to be about the students. They are 100% correct. So I ask you to think of your own son or daughter or sister or brother sitting in a Chicago Public Schools classroom.
You wouldn’t want your kids in 96-degree classrooms. You wouldn’t want them without books or teachers for the first month of the year. You wouldn’t want them tested over and over again instead of taught. You would want their teachers evaluated, but you wouldn’t want their favorite teacher bullied or fired due to an inaccurately measured test.