Rhodes Scholars, Gaming Numbers, Gang Dispersals

12,000 students skip mandatory Illinois test Sun Times
12,000 Illinois public school seniors skipped the mandatory 2009
Prairie State Achievement Exam -- a test that can trigger school or
district sanctions -- and will have to take it this spring, state
education officials say.

Police Struggle to Navigate New Gang Landscape NYT

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year after the Chicago Police Department cracked down on gangs, its
efforts crashed into reality when a 17-year-old was shot and killed in
front of a memorial for a slain friend.

3 students with area ties are among 32 Rhodes Scholars Sun Times

students with Chicago area ties -- Stephanie Bell, Russell Perkins and
Daniel Shih -- are among the 32 American men and women named Saturday
as 2009 Rhodes Scholars, considered one of the world's most prestigious
academic honors.

$87.8 million in CPS's special education funding is questioned Tribune
state Board of Education is looking into questions about the
"accountability and transparency" of millions of dollars in state money
that Chicago Public Schools receives each year to pay the salaries of
its special education teachers.

Charter School Debate Heats Up in South Chicago WBEZ

Some in the community believe the new charter school would do
a better job of teaching area children. Others fear it's the first step
in pushing neighborhood kids out.

Parents skeptical about magnet and selective admissions proposal Catalyst
officials took their proposed magnet and selective school admissions
policy on the road this week and encountered some suggestions, a host
of questions and a fair amount of confusion and frustration.

Comings & Goings: At ACT Charter, CPS Catalyst
Mostly goings.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • "Of the state

  • Access Living in the report discussed by the Chicago Tribune in the article Alexander posted above also discussed the CPS allocation of the special education stimulus dollars. Below I have provided that section of the report.

    Rod Estvan

    Here is what we wrote on that issue:

    As we have noted above CPS received and allocated $57 million in ARRA special education funds as part of its FY 2010 budget. Of this $57 million, $49.5 million went to pay salaries of teachers working at special education schools under CPS Unit 19092. Two million was allocated to pay for special education teachers and aides in charter schools, and $5.5 million was planned to fund new and expanded special education programs at new and existing schools. What exactly these new programs are to be is still unclear.

    CPS used its ARRA funds to legally supplant it own local special education funding efforts. The legislative intent of federal special education funds are to help ensure that students with disabilities have access to a free appropriate public education that meets each student

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I wonder where I could get a copy of this report. I don't see it on Access Living's website. Anybody know?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Found it. "Budget report calls on CPS to institute outcome based reforms in special education /
    Analysis includes comments on new anti-violence initiative" November 16, 2009:
    http://www.accessliving.org/index.php?tray=release&tid=top850&cid=2al76 (news release)
    (actual report is linked at the bottom of the release: Access Living CPS Review FY 2010)

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    ACT charter~!--but if it was a CPS school, auditors would be all over it FAST! LSC making many complaints and an investigation--this is a problem with charters--all those students suffer for so long before anything is done. Conflicts ALL over this charter which would have NEVER be allowed at any CPS neighborhood school!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Response to Rod Estvan

    Please keep reporting on special education issues. No one else speaks the truth as you do.

    At the beginning of the school year our hard working social workers, nurses, school psychologists and speech pathologists were basically threatened with privatization. How long do you think they will stay in CPS? As soon as the economy improves most of the young special education teachers and now the young service providers will abandon CPS to work in situations more conducive to learning.

    We are under referring special education students. Please check the percentage of students referred for services since the advent of Corey H. I will bet the referral rate for this year is the lowest it has ever been partially due to the cumbersome e-IEP and covert pressure from central office.

    As far as CPS spending dollars earmarked for special education students I do not see these dollars being spent in the schools. Central and area offices are loaded with inept special education personnel who offer no assistance to the teachers. Their role seems to be focused on paperwork compliance. Who cares if the caseloads are over the J-CAR limit(what's j-car)the age range is over the four year federal limit or one to one aides are now called shared aides(try that system in a fire)

    We have the highest caseloads since I entered special education 20 years ago. Corey H, can not be followed due to these huge caseloads especially in the inclusion programs. Special education teachers are being used as police officers in gen ed rooms where overcrowed conditions affect classroom management. In some schools the special education teacher is not allowed to even pull the students out for small group instruction. As any veteran teacher will tell you, older children do not want to be instructed on reading skills by a special education teacher while their gen ed peers are listening.

    Of course, our students do not do well in high school because we are not allowed to give them the services they need. We are constantly told to write IEPs for the needs of the system NOT the needs of the child. Whose fault is it if we can not meet the minutes? Everytime we receive a transfer from even the poorest suburb we are told to decrease services. Why is this allowed? ISBE and the court ordered Corey H. monitor seem to have been affected by selective mutism.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    This is so frustrating to parents of children with disabilities too. You ask for proof of IEP minutes being delivered "in inclusion in the general classroom with the sped teacher there" and you get NO answer from the principal, counselor and sped teacher. What a load of hooie. Annie & Rod: What specifically can we ask for to get the proof that the minutes are NOT being delivered? I need a script! I'm tried of teflon school folks who won't answer. Debbie Duskey, unfortunately, is one of them.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    To the parent blogger above--get a lawyer--go due process. OSS hates that and they react to it--enough parents going due process would scare the bejesus out of OSS since this would get Ron's attention.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Our group was threatened with privatization, so we are in the process of filing a grievance. This is a violation of the contract for us to be threatend by OSS in this manner. We have the proof, insist and file a grievance with CTU--youpay your dues and this is a threat that is a violation. Stand up, get up for your rights.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    creeps at ctu are refusing to file grievances, answer phone calls and go to arbitration. they are in collusion with the board to remove veteran teachers for monetary gains. just loook at teh letter sent out to principals to discipline union members for exercising their rights to organize during a union election year.

    what more evidence do we need to show the two are in bed with each other.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    At the beginning of the year representatives from CPS told local reporters that an inspector would be hired to curb abuses in special education. Has that person been hired?

    An earlier post in this strand mentions a grievance being filed due to threats of privatization. Why hasn't CTU filed anything regarding rampant abuses in special education?

    The e-IEP can take up to 30 hours and now we are being told by area office gad-abouts that we need to attend and document grade level meetings. Where are the preps for the special ed teachers? Are we supposed to attend 3-4 grade level meeetings a week which uses up all of our preps, collaborate with gen ed teachers during the 8:30 -9:00 time and complete SBPS? Obviously these central office personnel have NEVER taught! The CTU is well aware of these abuses yet I have not seen any action of behalf of members who pay dues of $1,000.00 per year.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Was there infor somewhere d299 that the CPS principals completed a survey that documented the abuses by OSS? Where are these results?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    There was a lawyer on the board of ACT Charter whose area of expertise included services to sped kids. When it was pointed out to her that ACT wasn't providing appropriate sped services, she slinked away. It didn't help that her boss was the father of one of the ACT EDs.

    That school has a very checkered history.

  • Re: the changes at ACT Charter. They were a long time in coming. That school was mismanaged from the start, although intentions, until the last few years, were good. They now have fired the two executive directors, the former principal (who had no real experience), and the director of operations (who was married to one of the EDs). The books are being accurately audited. And the gaming of scores will stop. We wish them well because West Garfield Park deserves a great school.

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