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Chicago to make future plans a graduation requirement: report

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) wants public high school students to show their plans for the future before obtaining their diploma.

Students will soon have to show that they've secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military in order to graduate, The Washington Post reports.

Emanuel's plan, approved by the Board of Education in late May, makes Chicago's the first big-city system to make post-graduation plans a requirement.

"We are going to help kids have a plan, because they're going to need it to succeed," Emanuel told the Post. "You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done."

But critics say the district may not be able to provide mentoring to help needy students when the rule takes effect in 2020.

"It sounds good on paper, but the problem is that when you've cut the number of counselors in schools, when you've cut the kind of services that kids need, who is going to do this work?" Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, told the Post.

"If you've done the work to earn a diploma, then you should get a diploma. Because if you don't, you are forcing kids into more poverty."

The new requirement was originally suggested to Emanuel by Arne Duncan, the former Chicago schools chief who was education secretary under President Obama.

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