Upon reading the article entitled “Reform Phase II: The Gale Chronicles” in your September issue, the Gale Local School Council wishes to call to your attention the general lack of a positive point throughout the entire eight-page article.
Dan Weissmann, the author of the article, was accurate in stating that the “dual shift was not ideal”; however, he failed to state that the dual shift was our preference over busing and that the Chicago Board of Education’s “capping policy” (April 1995) left us no other recourse to deal with our severe, longstanding overcrowding.
The parent members of the council voted to represent the viewpoints of those parents who spoke to us through their actions and words. Mr. Weissmann seems to have forgotten that community action is an integral, important, invaluable part of school reform.
We regret that a picture was painted of Gale Community Academy as a school where teacher and staff are concerned only with payroll issues and where students were “packed” into rooms. The Gale Community Academy is a center for education, socialization and recreation in an impoverished community. It is a family of many diverse people working together. Here again, Mr. Weissmann missed his mark. All struggles for empowerment and change involve dissent and disillusionment. But we at Gale, like so many others working for school improvement, are united enough to withstand the “heat of battle.”
We are hopeful that Mr. Weissmann will consider adopting a more balanced approach. CATALYST must continue as an accurate, alternative source of news for schools.
Wayne Frazier, chair
Gale Community Academy LSC
Editor’s note: Mr. Frazier is in error about Mr. Weissmann’s reporting. On page 18 of the September issue, Mr. Weissmann writes: “Last spring, in one of its last decisions, the old Board of Education capped enrollment at overcrowded schools, forcing them to take at least one of three steps. . . . Under duress, Gale picked dual shifts.”