Allow me a short rant ...
Relative to the general Chicago population, my children want for nothing.
The disposable income to provide them with the finest education, access to any cultural or learning experience we deem worthy, and as many books as their little minds can consume.
And man, our four year old, Henry, consumes a lot. His thirst for knowledge is never-ending. It's awesome.
But while Barnes and Noble is a regular stop for us, we've also asked our babysitter to take him to the library to start checking out books rather than spending money on things he'll read once or twice and then shove in a pile somewhere.
Last week she came home with a form for us to fill out so he could get his own library card, rather than checking out books on hers. We dutifully filled it out, and sent them on their way this morning.
Unfortunately, the Chicago Public Library has some tough standards. His "application" was denied because he couldn't neatly spell his first and last name on the form. Mind you, he's four.
Not only was I livid, but I felt terrible for Henry. How humiliating to be told you're essentially unqualified to learn. It's fortunate I wasn't there - it would have been an ugly scene. I'm fiercly protective of my boys.
So let's recap ... We activley encourage our children to learn. We thought the library would be a good facilitator of that. But the library didn't think our child was what, smart enough, to play in their sandbox? Or what, he'd never return the books? Chicago should be so lucky that kids are stealing books - it's a good problem to have.
At the end of the day, it means nothing to us. Again, we are fortunate to have the means to teach him everything.
But imagine this happening to a child with no means. A child who has the deck stacked against him. It makes me cringe.
Then Secretary of Education, Bill Bennet, once called Chicago's public school system the worst in the country. I'm sure it's improved since the 1980s, but certainly not so much that children of any age should be denied access to knowledge.
Shame on you Chicago. Mayor Rahm - this needs to be fixed, now.