Trapped At Fenger, Examining Alternative Schools

A struggle to get out of Fenger Tribune
district has a Byzantine set of rules that spell out the rare
circumstances when students can change schools once classes have
started. And as Jackson has learned, withdrawing children from their
assigned school is complicated, time consuming and frustrating.

More scrutiny on the horizon for alternative schools Catalyst


"We are doing an
analysis that looks at one school spending $7,000 that has figured it
out, while another one hasn't. All alternative programs are not alike."

Over $135M in taxpayers' funds used to settle suits Sun Times
taxpayers spent a whopping $136.4 million last year to settle lawsuits
filed against the city, but that was an "anomaly" not likely to be
duplicated, the city's top lawyer said Thursday.

Census results could affect education funding
much money the federal government doles out to Illinois over the next
decade for public education will depend largely on results from the
upcoming 2010 census.

Rigging the test Tribune editorial
Voila! You're not a junior, you don't take the test! And the school's
results aren't weighed down.

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  • Don't forget that Daley wastes countless hours of city law department time trying to fight the Shackman decree to enlarge his patronage army for the next election. Oh, Daley said the Shackman decree should be rescinded since there no longer any corruption in city government!!!

  • Don Frymd turned Fenger into a dangerous school--his philosphy, his rules, he is the boss. These poorly treated parents and their threatened children, are not getting an education because of him.
    Don't people realize that he HAD to leave Jones--that he was put out by the LSC there?

  • Get off the Don Fraynd stuff! He didn't have to leave Jones and you obviously have not be inside Fenger. You have an ax to grind. The death of Darian Albert is tragic, but does anyone remember the 7 other Fenger kids killed over the past 4 years? This is a much bigger problem than just Fenger - and has been going on for some time. Let's work on a solution to the bigger problem.

  • seven other kids in four years? is that true?

  • Alexander - don't take the word of anyone else - go to Fenger and see for yourself. You can then report out what you see - no filter. They have not let the media in, but I think they might make an exception for you.

  • Catch that next plane and have your notebook ready!

  • LSC at Jones no longer wanted the services of Dr. Don Frynd. He chose to remove the Fenger principal in August--yes, August AFTER this african amaerican male principal was informed that he would be the leader and after this talented principal worked with and gained the respect and trust of ALL the students and teachers there--the LSC picked him and he had community support. Dr. Don walks in and fires everyone at will, discouraging great teachers to apply and loosing the MANY teacher who had positive relations with the students. He by his power, puts in a new principal (yes, from Harper for what? -1 year) who did not know the students or the culture of this community.) The truth is what's up here, not some ax to grind. Facts--period. His way was wrong, and he bares responsibility for this mess. Since he needed a job, Arne 'saved' Dr. Don by making him high school turnaround head--big mistake and a job he was NOT prepared for nor had even earned by knowledge, work or talent.
    And for CPS allowing Alexander to go in to visit Fenger? Are you kidding? They wont even let the parents of the studens there in!

  • What is sadder is that no one outside of CPS will hire Don Frynd because he will forever be associated with this mess at Fenger. ANY school district in the United States will only need to look up Fenger HS and find just cause not to hire him. heck, any smart LSC will know better too. So he is stuck in CPS central office forever. shame.

  • District299Reader - apparently you are not aware of the law around reconstitution. That calls for the entire staff to be removed, and was an action the Board took with regard to Fenger before this year started. This has taken place in schools across the nation under NCLB guidelines. This isn't Dr. Fraynd's way - it is the law based on the many years of low performance at Fenger. Your statement speaks for itself and shows your bias - as mine probably does as well. Or would you say Dr. Fraynd is responsible for the tragic death of the Fenger student, or the other young people lost to us forever.
    I do have one question - if Fenger was such a great school under the previous "talented principal" and staff - why was it listed as among the worst schools in the US - not just Illinois - consistently over the past six years? There are many "truths" out there. Kids are loosing their lives all over Chicago - it is tragic and that deserves our attention. Fenger is not a mess - any more than Harper was a year ago. Harper is recognized widely for the improvements made there, and my guess is Fenger will be a year from now as well. Again... probably my bias... but time will tell which of us is right.

  • Dr. Don's Harper cast out its unwanted students and sent them to Robeson--putting Robeson into a further tail spin--who's idea, Dr. Don's. When he could not do the same at Fenger, it erupted in violence. His fault--and NO, reconstitution does not REQUIRE the entire staff to be removed--read the law yourself. All can be interviewed and can be re-selected to stay in the school. (Why did they allow the principal to stay and give the impression that he would continue to lead the school? Only to uncle tom him in the end.) Here is how ignorant Dr. Don is--as you say Fenger was bad before--Dr. Don did not bother with ANY institutional history at Fenger--why should he? Fenger HAD gone through probation and reengineering and intervention and reconstitution and finally HAD stable and respected teachers and leadership which Don destroyed. As for the Board, the community begged for the Altgeld students to be able to stay at Carver, but were disrespected by the Board since no one there gave a damn about their opinion or needs for their children of community, even though the proof was already there at Clemente and Hyde Park and Robeson--as they got rid of the unwanted students at Englewood and Calumet and Austin, disrupting these other HSs that were making progress and leading them to daily violence when these rediculous student transfers were put on them. Don has a PHD, he is the wonderboy, the turnaround czar and he is responsible for bringing the diaster that is now Robeson and Fenger. Wake up!

  • Many of the comments at this site are thought provoking. Of course, there are those comments that are not intelligent or fair. But the forum for discussion is a healthy blog service. I did, however, get a giggle thinking of Alexander standing in the Fenger hallway with a notebook and pencil. That's not what bloghosts do. I don't think of Alexander as the best one in the field and he is certainly not a journalist. But it is what it is and people do get a chance to voice their opinions here.

  • Did anyone else here go to the iHope re-enroll dropouts event? I found it to be very interesting. I do like the idea of alternative schools meeting this need. I also like the way Huberman is using data to identify those students most at risk for dropping out in the first place. I also like that state legislators are concerned about the expansion of charter schools in general. My major concern, is that as we applaud ourselves for helping drop-outs turn their situation around, we may forget to deal with those issues that cause drop-outs in the first place: POVERTY, DRUGS, TEEN PREGNANCY, and VIOLENCE. Every student that testified at this event was touched by one or more of these horrors. If we fail to prioritize investing and encouraging development and job growth in our poorest neighborhoods, we will not curb the dropout rate. If we fail to create drug laws that actually discourage drug use among young people and give law enforcement the tools needed to remove the dealers from our blocks, we will not curb the dropout rate. If we fail to institute real sex education programs and provide resources and activities for young people that will reduce the teen pregnancy rate, we will not curb the dropout rate. Unless we respect fund and resource law enforcement in ways that they can effectively diminish the influence of gang activity in our neighborhoods, we will not curb the dropout rate. I'm glad to see that CPS is doing what it can with its resources. However, the rest of our society needs to step up locally and nationally to combat these causes and in the process raising our property values and increasing our tax base. Otherwise we will see our values and incomes continue to slide and become increasingly dependent on handouts from the feds for stop-gap programs that will only be funded for a year or two and that the state won't be able to afford to continue. Every cause of this problem must be seriously addressed if we are to succeed.

  • Retired Principal said: Dr. William "Rick" Johnson former principal of Fenger High School and Carver Military Academy High School is HAPPY at being the principal at his new high school, Best Practice High School! Rick ONLY has 200 students, no violence and is making the same MONEY he made as being principal of Fenger High School!

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