UPTOWN — An online petition opposing the city's decision to close the child development programs at five City Colleges and consolidate the program at Harry S. Truman College has gained nearly 700 signatures.
Beginning in the fall of 2016, Truman, 1145 W. Wilson Ave., will be the only city college to offer a child development degree program, according to Nikole Muzzy, a City Colleges of Chicago spokeswoman. However, students can still take a couple child development courses at Kennedy-King and Malcolm X colleges.
Prior to the consolidation, students were able to get a child development degree at Richard J. Daley College, 7500 S. Pulaski Road; Harold Washington College, 30 E. Lake St.; Kennedy-King College, 6301 S. Halsted St.; Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren St.; Olive-Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.; and Truman College.
Muzzy said the consolidation is part of the community college system's reinvention plan. Under the plan, Truman will become the hub for education, human and natural services.
"City Colleges is working with four-year colleges and employers to evaluate all of our programs to ensure they reflect workforce demand and prepare Chicagoans for the 600,000 jobs coming to our region over the next decade in the fastest-growing fields," Muzzy said in a written statement.
Also under the plan, Malcolm X will become the hub for all healthcare programs beginning in spring of next year.
It is unclear if Truman will hire more professors to accommodate for the influx of students. Muzzy said no faculty or staff positions will be eliminated, and student enrollment will "remain consistent or grow as students see the value of the enhanced partner relationships and industry-validated programs at Truman College."
But those behind the petition believe the consolidation will negatively impact students on the South and West Sides, who will "lose access to a high quality, nationally recognized education."
"This action disproportionately affects traditionally under-served communities particularly on the west and south side neighborhoods of Chicago, and it has wide ranging consequences for current college students, potential students and, perhaps most importantly, to young children and their families," the petition reads.
When asked how students from the South and West Sides will get to Truman, Muzzy said students are encouraged to take the City College shuttle, which was introduced last fall, and public transportation.
According to the petition, taking buses is "impossible" for students who are trying to balance their family responsibilities along with work and education.
"The Child Development faculty team from six City Colleges that have offered the Child Development degree programs are concerned that Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel and Chancellor [Cheryl] Hyman do not fully understand or appreciate the value of community-based education as this decision clearly goes against the mission of community colleges, which is to serve citizens within the communities in which they live, learn, and work," the petition reads.
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