If you don't smile at the big reveal, you should go looking for the part of your soul you lost.

I think we need a couple hundred thousand more of these.

(Or maybe we have them, but they don't have a slick video yet.)

You've probably heard about the Chicago school system. It's not a particularly bright spot on the American education horizon. It's plagued by poverty, low high school graduation rates, and even lower college graduation rates.


But like Mr. Oclander said: It's gang violence and their minority status that makes them so easy to ignore.

Harper High School, on the south side of Chicago, is a school just like Mr. Oclander's school but worse. The area around Harper High School has been consumed by gangs, and those gangs affect every aspect of the students' lives.

Harper High School is full of people like Mr. Oclander who are trying to do the best they can for their students. Encouraging them to persevere and grow despite seemingly insurmountable. Being a constant positive presence. Showing them the love and constructive reassurance.

It's way to easy to say there's something wrong with these inner-city kids. That they are somehow to blame for their disproportionately awful outcomes.

But if you can listen to these journalists explain how this one school is trying desperately to keep its kids alive and still judge them so harshly, I'm not sure what to say to you.

For part two of this series, click here.

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