The Chicago public schools will expand its Arabic-language program to three more high schools, thanks to a three-year, $888,000 federal grant announced this morning.
Mayor Daley accepted the grant at Durkin Park Elementary School, 8445 S. Kolin, as he rejected suggestions that the Fort Hood, Texas, massacre could lead to an outbreak of anti-Muslim sentiment.
"I don't think so," Daley said. "Every day, in society, someone's being killed . . . . You don't blame a group, you don't blame a society or an immigrant community because of the actions of one group or one individual. You cannot say that."
Already, Arabic is offered at three Chicago high schools — Lincoln Park, Roosevelt and Lindblom.
It's also offered at seven Chicago elementary schools — Durkin Park, Agassiz, Belding, LaSalle Language Academy II, Marquette Tech and Volta.
In all, about 2,000 students take Arabic in Chicago's schools.
The new federal grant, on top of $1.6 million in state and federal funds the schools already have gotten, will fund the expansion to three additional high schools that have yet to be identified.
The expansion will be enhanced by the use of technology-based instruction using the safari-blackboard virtual technology that will allow a teacher at one school to simultaneously offer a virtual class at another school as well. The teacher will change schools every two weeks so students will have personal interaction with a teacher.