Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=158851
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Jessica Q. Chen and Leor Galil/MEDILL

On Friday, Chicago residents gathered at Ron's Barber Shop, where the topic was the broken education system and ideas on how to fix it.


Barber shop: A new forum for community discourse

by Leor Galil and Jessica Q. Chen
March 02, 2010


On Friday afternoon, scholars, barbers and community members convened at a small barber shop in Austin to shoot the breeze.

But this breeze had purpose, part of a a monthly community forum called Shop Talk, sponsored by the Public Square, a nonprofit group that fosters participatory democracy, and the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Amid hair trimmings littering the floor of Ron's Barber Shop, the group talked about school closures, Renaissance 2010 and education reform. Participants shared their experiences and insight on issues concerning Chicago Public Schools.

Pauline Lipman, professor of educational policy studies at UIC, spoke at the event. She highlighted issues mentioned in her book, “High Stakes Education: Inequality, Globalization, and Urban School Reform.”

Shop Talk began in January, and takes place on the last Friday of every month. The series will continue through June 2010.