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The U Of C's Education Efforts -- Better, Worse, or About The Same?

Check out this week's EdWeek commentary from UofC education honcho Tim Knowles and others about the UofC's education initiative, which has grown like kudzu over the past couple of years.  Whether you like what they do or not -- or don't really know -- you'll be interested to hear what they're up to and how they see it all fitting together(John Dewey for Today). And, if anyone has any direct experience with these schools, support services, or teaching candidates, let us know.  What I wonder is what the UofC is up to these days any better, or worse, than it was during previous years under Tony Bryk?

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  • I visited the U of C elementary school North Kenwood/Oakland in the 2005-06 school year. While the facility located at East 46th Street had been made ADA compliant, the facility located at East 47th Street for grades 6-8 in a rental had not. This was disturbing, because it was clear U of C had put a significant amount of money into the rental facility, but had not even taken on minimal ADA tasks at that site. This raised real questions about what would happen to a child that needed ramps and appropriate bathroom facilities once they reached grade 6. At the time I visited the school there were no students who were wheel chair users.

    I looked at the preK-grade 5 reading program and found it to be very impressive. Data on reading progress for each child was kept and retriveable by teachers via the school

  • 9:02 AM writes quoting me in part: ". What kind of statement is that? How does one's ethnicity play into the quality of teaching?"

    I think that I was making a very honest statement, one that is reflected in a major study of teachers in Illinois out of Southern IL Univ that was reported on and commented on this blog.

    One thing I did not note, because I assumed it was rather clear to everyone was that North Kenwood/Oakland was overwhelming African-American in composition. Therefore, the reality that all data indicates younger teachers entering the CPS are more often white than in the last 30 years is of relevance.

    African-American children need good teachers and they need role models that they can identify with. I write this as a former white teacher who taught in a 100% African-American CPS school. Therefore, I believe that U of C charter by having attracted talented younger African-American teachers has done a positive thing. If the charter can keep these teachers will only be known with time.

    I do not have the link to the SIU study, but I do recall it making a clear point that fewer young African-Americans are going into teaching in our state than in the past. One reason is greater opportunities for young African-American college graduates in the commpetive private sector than in the past.

    Teaching and education is not race blind, therefore the issue is of relevance.

    As for the broader comments on the role of U of C in the community. I was responding to Alexander Russo's prompt about the functioning of the charters themselves not about the larger implications of the role of the institution in the community. I also was not commenting about the problems of spliting the

    East 46th Street building in half. This was commented on extensively on this blog and is problematic.

  • Oak Park racially controlled? By whom? I currently live accross the street in the decidedly unleafy 'burb of Berwyn (north Berwyn--there's a difference between the two halves of the 'burb). I lived in Oak Park for a year, but the housing there is a bit steep in $$. The only racial balancing work the village does is they have a office that people can go to to get leads on housing, that tries to steer tenants into the appropriate section of the town to make the whole thing racially balanced. Of course, no one has to use that office and I don't think most people do use it. Other than that, they try to make sure landlords are not ignoring the rules regarding fair leasing and that realtors are not steering people for racial segregation, economic segregation is pretty much a lost cause.

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