Weekend Open Discussion: What's On Your Mind?

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There's a Rube Goldberg Machine contest this morning at the Children's Museum featuring teams from Chicago Christian, Talent Development, Luther High School North, Nobel Street College Prep and some suburban schools I don't care about.  (Details below.)  But what else is going on this weekend / on your mind this week?  How Emanuel won the black vote? The joys of ISAT test prep and progress reports?  What you're going to do during Pulaski Day weekend?
This is a great opportunity to see some fun and exciting science and engineering at work!!  The kids machines are fun to watch and visually compelling.  This event will provide great photo ops and video.  Please join us on Friday at the Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier.

Thank you for your consideration.

ARGONNE, Ill. (February 23, 2011) -- It may get a little messy at the 16th annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest on Friday, Feb. 25, but at least it will be fun and exciting as 10 Chicago-area high schools compete to see which of their wacky contraption's wins the title.

This year students are tasked with building a complex machine to water a plant in 20 or more steps. The machines will be put to the test in the contest, which kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at Chicago Children's Museum at Navy Pier.

10 teams will compete. Schools registered for this year's contest are:
•       Chicago Christian High School, Chicago
•       Chicago Talent Development High School, Chicago
•       Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove
•       Hoffman Estates High School, Hoffman Estates
•       Joliet Central High School, Joliet
•       Luther High School North, Chicago
•       Maine Township High School South, Park Ridge (2 teams)
•       Nobel Street College Prep, Chicago
•       Timothy Christian High School, Elmhurst
•       Wilmington High School, Wilmington

The winning team will receive a traveling trophy to display until the 2012 contest and a tour of Argonne, which will include a visit to the Advanced Photon Source and lunch with Argonne scientists. The first-place team also will have the opportunity to demonstrate its winning machine at Argonne on the day of the tour. In addition, each team member and the team's faculty advisor will receive an Argonne National Laboratory Rube Goldberg Machine laptop backpack and an Argonne Rube Goldberg Machine Contest T-shirt. The first place team will also advance to the National Rube Goldberg High School competition on Saturday, March 19, at Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich.

Second-place team members and their faculty advisor will receive Argonne National Laboratory Rube Goldberg Machine laptop backpacks and Argonne Rube Goldberg Machine Contest T-shirts.

Third-place team members and their faculty advisor will receive Argonne National Laboratory Rube Goldberg Machine Contest T-shirts.

A trophy will be awarded to the team that wins the People's Choice Award, to be chosen by popular vote of those attending the Chicago Children's Museum during the contest.
Rube Goldberg machine contests are inspired by Reuben Lucius Goldberg, whose cartoons combined simple household items into complex devices to perform trivial tasks. The machines combine the principles of physics and engineering, using common objects such as marbles, mousetraps, stuffed animals, electric mixers, vacuum cleaners, rubber tubes, bicycle parts and anything else that happens to be on hand.  But the ultimate goal of the Argonne-sponsored contest is give students hands-on engineering experience and to encourage them to make science and engineering part of their future academic and professional careers.

"Designing and building a Rube Goldberg machine has a lot in common with modern research and development," says David Baurac, one of the founders of the Argonne competition. "Specifically, it's creative problem solving, and it's a team activity. The teachers I talk to tell me that the contest is not about winning, it's about the experience of participating."
Information about the Argonne Rube Goldberg Machine Contest for High Schools is available online.

Argonne's Division of Educational Programs and Communications and Public Affairs Division sponsor the Feb. 25 event in collaboration with Chicago Children's Museum and the National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest, held annually at Purdue University. The event is licensed by Rube Goldberg, Inc.
"Rube Goldberg" is a registered trademark and copyright of Rube Goldberg, Inc., which can be reached, at (203) 227-0818, by e-mail at Rube@RubeGoldberg.com or via their Web site.
Chicago Children's Museum's mission is to create a community where play and learning connect. For more information about Chicago Children's Museum, call (312) 527-1000 or visit their Web site.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

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  • 7 or 8 elementary schools will be closed June 30, 2011 because of underutilization according to CPS!

  • Geez, someone's having a bad day and decided to take it out on a complete stranger. I suppose that's better than kicking the dog.

    First, if Retired Principal is *retired*, then s/he isn't drawing a *salary* at all. Pension payments are the result of deferred compensation and financial planning over a career of working. And they're to live on when one is no longer working.

    Every candidate for alderman is going to claim to support the neighborhood schools. But you do realize that the City Council is not in charge of the city's schools. That would be the Board of Education--whose members, under state law, are appointed by the mayor of the City of Chicago.

    Many reader of this blog appreciate the "insider" information that RP often shares here.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Thank you Danny. Here is what is really going on. CPS is going to "claim" that certain CPS elementary schools are underutilizied so that CPS can give these building to charter schools! One of the elementary schools is in the district of State Rep. Cynthia Soto's who is on the Illinois General Assembly Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force!

  • In reply to chijas:

    CPS is up to no good! Watch the Board meeting on channel 21 on Comcast at noon on Saturdays!

  • In reply to chijas:

    Money
    To the person who is jealous about the retired principals pension
    Let me answer you. Perhaps you forgot the money they paid into the
    Pension plan for at least 34 years, that

  • In reply to chijas:

    I believe what is happening in WI will eventually happen here. I believe it is a given. To me, I think we must be willing to concede that the school day must be longer and the school year must be longer, something that has long been fought by the union. But, I also think we should be given a modest, read MODEST increase for that time. Pensions are a huge problem and there is no way our states can continue to fund them at the current levels. Personally, I think pensions should be done away with entirely for anyone with less than 5 years in the system. Teachers should be given retirement funds in a 401K or some other system, but this "salary for life" after retirement just isn't fundable.
    Parents WILL come to CPS IF and only IF: we have small class sizes, better scores, recess, tours, good marketing, etc....Wanna know why the up and coming north side neighborhood schools have done so well? Marketing. They've made people believe that good schools are possible. They attract upper income people who bring their high achieving and advantaged kids with them. It isn't that they are/were truly that great. But, they made people believe they were great, and by attracting better students, they became better schools.
    The teacher's union has a major PR problem and by giving a little on the length of the school day/year and including recess during the day instead of demanding that we all go home at 2:45, parents might look at our schools. I hear it over and over again from parents all over the city. Seriously, I'd never send my kids to a school without recess, and am thankful every day that their CPS school--which is the best of the best--has it.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    you guys talk all the time about charters sucking kids and dollars out of the system but what about all the other kids and families who've exited the system altogether -- to the burbs or somewhere else? or are charters to blame for that, too? charters aren't killing CPS -- let's get over that one or at least give it a rest for a while.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I may be entirely wrong, but it seems there are two big reasons why parents like charter schools.

    The much longer school day is great for working families. CPS elementary schools have the shortest day around. There is not enough time for recess, often not enough time for proper math or science instruction, and it is tough and expensive to get adequate childcare after school.

    The biggest reason, I think, is the charter's strict school discipline code and its ability to release back to the neighborhood school the children who don't conform to it. This preserves the learning environment for others.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Dear Hah Hah

    I

  • I'd also like to know, which high schools are working?
    L.P.? Morgan Park? Good programs? Good administrators?

  • The you tube video entitled, Rahm's education plans, is just an advertisement for him and Ms. Hightower. Just looking for votes from teachers, nothing else. No discussion of any issues.

    1.) Ms. Hightower solemnly says: "He gets it."
    2.) Rahm advocates for: "Parent / Teacher contract" as if it were a new idea that could have a serious impact.
    3.) Then Rahm talks about raising salaries for stellar teachers, after new testing proving who they are is in place, who could jump to top of pay scale in 8 years.

    sounds like more of the same. No real reform.

  • I'm attacking this on all fronts. I need you to also get involved to stop this! Thanking you in advance.

  • Friday, February 25, 2011
    EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION

    CPS Preparing to Crack Down on Teacher Certification:
    It's Essential That You Check Your Professional Development and Recertification Online
    The Chicago Teachers Union wishes to alert all teachers about the possibility of missing information or other deficiencies in their credentials on the ECS-Educator Certification System of the ISBE website. This is grounds for immediate termination from CPS. CTU advises you to go to the site ASAP and check the status of your credentials.

    Go to http://www.isbe.state.il.us/ECS/default.htm.
    Click on

  • Also, KIPP is trying to take over Penn school. Some of Penn's teachers have 40 kids in the room. KIPP was SUPPOSED to share with Penn and they keep asking for more and more space. Soon there will be no more Penn only KIPP. This is so sad that CPS allows charters to kick out cps from their own buildings!

  • Email ... why?

  • I am not a charter school fan. But, I don't think it is charters killing CPS. To me, it is that schools are not run correctly. K-3 should have classes no bigger than 15-18, with tons of remediation done for kids at that level in order to prevent bigger problems later. The school day and year needs to be longer (and yes, CTU, we need to give on this). Most schools have no recess. Most schools don't offer tours. Why would any family with means attend a local school? CPS is a major turn off to most middle class families. When schools are funded the way they need to be (yes, taxpayers, get ready to pay more and yes teachers, we need to make concessions) and kids are truly given the help they need then people will flock to our schools. When merit pay is done fairly and equitably by a committee of people who have done AT LEAST a dozen hour long observations of each and every teacher, and we reward our best teachers with more pay, schools will improve. When all schools have all the staff and support they need, when kids who are dangerous or disrupt constantly are asked to leave, then our schools will be desirable.

  • The timing of this attack on pensions is beyond casual coincidence. We loaned government money when we allowed them a pension holliday. Now that the loan is past due, government does not want to pay up. Instead, politicians just want out of the debt that they created. Teachers and other public employees did not cause this debt.

  • Debt

    Some people seem to think that an entity can decide which debt
    Should be paid, and which debt can be forgotten. I guess it depends on how much
    respect or fear, the indebted party has for the lender.
    Teachers have been loaning the City of Chicago millions of dollars since at least 1995.
    Money owed to the pension fund was not paid by the very government which seems
    To think it can just forget the debt .In reality the city is telling us to go to hell they cannot
    Pay the bill and there is nothing we can do to collect.
    There are a couple of things we can do, Find out who failed and launch criminal and
    civil proceeding .For 41 years I met my pension obligations every paycheck. Why should
    I have to worry about the years I have left ? Almost half the people who I know died within
    five years of retirement and I came close to dying with my boots on without ever
    collecting a penny of any pension .
    If the city must go bankrupt It was not the teachers who caused the situation.
    It was the greed of corrupt, or stupid politicians who are now getting out of Dodge
    in record numbers. I pray we are smart enough to collect our debt when the fire sale
    of city assets begins.

  • Times

    We had to put up with it when times were good for everyone else, that

  • Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it! Are you a teacher?

  • Wouldn't it? Or a way of failing the student in one subject and passing him in another. No one is helped by passing a student onto the 2nd or 3rd grade who has not mastered the skills he should have learned in first or second grade.

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