The Need

Every person in the region—old or young, black, brown or white, immigrant or native—matters. Too often, though, we lose sight of this. Our government overlooks certain populations. Our public and private sectors introduce policies that lead to disparities in resources and limit access to opportunity.

Everyone matters, but such inequities demonstrate that far too many people do not count:

In Chicago, schools with the fewest number of poor students are likely to get better-than-average funding while large and overcrowded schools, many of them predominantly Latino, receive less money per pupil.

Just 32 of the city's 115 high schools have English as a Second Language programs, restricting access for those new to our city.

95 percent of Chicago Public School graduates who entered City Colleges last fall failed to place into college-level math courses. Three-fourths failed to place into college-level English and had to take remedial reading and writing
classes.

Nearly three out of every five parolees in the state are unemployed; the numbers are higher in Chicago's predominantly black neighborhoods.

Of the Chicago area ex-offenders who were unemployed, 33 percent returned to prison. Those who had jobs prior to entering prison were far less likely to return.

Employers who falsely promise jobs and a better life lure an untold number of undocumented immigrants to Chicago, recently named one of the country's domestic trafficking hubs. Instead, these workers are forced to llive as modern day slaves, performing menial labor or selling their bodies, for pennies a day.

The number of major retailers is nearly three times higher in white areas than in black areas. The disparities exist even when the neighborhood's incomes are similar.

*As reported by our units during fiscal years 2005 and 2006.

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