When we were going through the paces of opening a new school in the Pilsen area of Chicago, one of the norms we agreed upon for making any decisions was that it would have to be good for the young people we were trying to serve. “Is it good for the kids?” Everyone knows the definitions critics have for today’s schools as being places that provide pensions for adults. We said we were going to do keep the students first in everything we do. Frankly, it is amazing how difficult it is to follow that norm, but nonetheless we are trying.
Lately a fear has arisen that people outside the Cristo Rey Network might take our model for their own purposes. At first blush that is disconcerting because we are careful how the model is used and vigilant that it be for those for whom there are not a lot of options. However, when push comes to shove, we are caught in our own web. Even if someone were to make use of the Cristo Rey education model, if it meant that more young people were getting access to a college preparatory education, we would have to be in favor of it. This whole movement is about kids, and if kids are profiting from what is happening, then we are on the right path.