Mothers of Invention

The article written by Beth Wilson about Nettelhorst Elementary School [“The Mom Brigade,” Reporter, January] states that after the mothers stepped in to make a difference in the school, the demographic changed from 78 percent black and Hispanic to over two-thirds white. The article made it sound like the previous demographics contributed to the school’s failure. The [main] reason given for the school’s thriving success is the fundraising efforts made by the mothers to get murals painted by local artists and a fitness center donated by the Blackhawks.

I urge you to take a look at schools that are thriving without extra money and without mothers who have time during the day to fundraise. I know plenty of those schools and work at one of them.



As a Chicago Public Schools teacher in the Englewood neighborhood, I was eager to read an article with the cover line “How Parents Rescued a Failing School.” I am always excited to learn new techniques that may help me in recruiting parents to assist in their child’s education. But I believe this article had a very strong racist and classist tone.

When writing an article such as this one, you should have explored the divide that continues to push children of color out of their neighborhoods and further into poverty. You should have explored the massive obstacles present in neighborhoods such as Englewood and Austin and given some thought to the fact that the parents in these neighborhoods, due to the relentless poverty cycle, may not have the same time, resources, or ability to be heard as the wealthy mothers in Lake View.

The wealthy people in this city need to be constantly exposed to the destitution that is indirectly caused by their completely commendable desire to send their own children to a great school. I will continue to read Chicago magazine in hopes that you will work to highlight not only the great schools that are propelled by well-connected parents but also the impoverished schools that could stand to receive some help from the well connected as well.



WEB COMMENTS ON JANUARY’S “A Guide to Devon Avenue: Decoding Devon”

Devon Avenue is awesome. Jewish, Indian, Pakistani, Middle Eastern, and Asian cuisine as well as shops can be found.

Devon is most definitely one of the dirtiest streets in the city. If you disagree you are delusional.

While walking past a Pakistani restaurant recently, I noticed the name of a Jewish aldermanic candidate displayed in its window. The various cultures that give Devon Avenue its character seem to get along nicely.

Devon Avenue is one big MESS. Take a look down the alleys behind the stores, and I guarantee you’ll run away as fast as you can.

I grew up on Devon and watched it evolve over the years. I still love the street, even though it is WAAAAYYY different. But [it] is my home, my childhood, and ya gotta love it.



I’m so glad these [photographs] have come to light and hope they will be treated with some respect, not sold off to the highest bidder. The woman had a natural raw talent, which she built on as a self-taught and obsessive picture-taker. Of course, not all of the shots are good, and only a fool would expect them to be.



One of Nora M. Hansen’s specialties, sentinel node surgery, was misstated in January’s “Top Doctors for Women.”

In January’s “Life Lines,” the number of beds owned by the social-service organization A Safe Haven was misstated. A Safe Haven has 1,200 beds.


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