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Alums pitch in for public schools

Generally, it's the colleges of this nation that have the corner on the alumni market. But Chicago Public School Superintendent Ruth Love, who has been trying in a number of innovative ways to foster the public school-citizen connection, announced the formation of what is believed to be the first public school alumni association in the United States.

Chicago Mayor Harold Washington was awarded the No. 1 membership card, and special T-shirts and bumper stickers were at the ready for a major citywide (and national) membership drive, reports Monitor correspondent Lucia Mouat. The Chicago Public Schools Alumni Association is expected to serve mainly as an anchor of support for the schools. Some of the more prominent alums are already being recruited to record public-service announcements on the importance of reporting back to school on opening day. Alums are also expected to help with fund raising for scholarships and job internships.

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''It's time for us to give something back to the school system,'' observes Ronald Kennedy, Northwestern University professor of law who chairs the new group's steering committee. ''We're going to be involved in some serious business, but we're also going to have some fun.''

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