Countdown For 9 Schools

Today's news is that, well, it's getting colder.  There are Halloween decorations up here and there.  Otherwise, no big changes -- other than schedule changes in about a week for the handful of schools that have agreed to extend their days.  What else?  Seems like there's got to be lots more going on than we're hearing.

Chicago's Mayor Challenges Teachers Union NYT:  One by one, teachers at public elementary schools here have been voting to buck their own union and take Mayor Rahm Emanuel up on an unusual offer: to accept bonus pay in exchange for waiving union contract provisions.

Superfans show spirit across suburban high schools Tribune: Dozens of Illinois lawmakers got the visiting-dignitary treatment from Mayor Rahm Emanuel on a recent Thursday trip to Chicago, touring the city by CTA bus before joining the mayor for a private reception at Millennium Park.

Message to Chicago teachers from the boss Tribune:  Thousands of parents across the city bundle their kids off to school every day with only a vague notion of how the school is performing.

A teaching moment Tribune:  Teachers at nine Chicago elementary schools have voted to extend the school day by 90 minutes. Those schools and those teachers have earned a spot on our expanding honor roll. They're putting students first.

Charter school for soccer hopefuls opens in Chicago Fox News:  In South America, future soccer stars learn the game on vacant lots or improvised playing fields, but in Chicago the dream of becoming a professional can begin at a new K-8 charter school.

Elementary school construction costs: CPS vs. UNO WBEZ:  The Public Building Commission of Chicago manages school construction projects and renovations for Chicago Public Schools.

Recess Making Comeback in Chicago Schools CNC:  Beginning in November, the city’s Department of Public Health will require children who attend preschool or day care centers in Chicago to spend less time in front of television or computer screens — 60 minutes or less — and more time, at least an hour a day, participating in physical activity.

HistoryMakers bringing actress Marla Gibbs to Phillips High School Sun Times: It has been 38 years since Emmy Award-winning actress Marla Gibbs — best known for her role as the wise-cracking maid Florence on “The Jeffersons” — stepped foot in Wendell Phillips High School.

Broward's schools chief comes from humble beginnings Miami Herald: In 2003, Arne Duncan, then head of Chicago Public Schools, approached Runcie about joining his management team.

Chicago's Longer School Day: Reform, Politics Or Both? Huffington Post: "Aabout 20" CPS schools have voted, thus far [including Hendricks], to uphold the existing contract and not extend their instructional day this year, according to CTU press secretary Stephanie Gadlin.

The Man Who Has Hurt Education Most Says Gambling Expansion Will Hurt Schools Michael Ciric: This is a man who has made talking out of both sides of his mouth an art form!

School Spotlight: Montessori Magnet Programs Little Kids, Big City: Did you know that there are three magnet schools in Chicago that incorporate the Montessori philosophy into their classrooms? And that they are free?


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  • "The CPS e-mail has been down for at least two days now. A few people have intermittent access and nobody seems to know what is up. They said there would be maintenance over the weekend, but it is now Monday after school. The e-mail keeps telling people their passwords are bad, yet you can use the same username and password to access other info on the boards servers (attendance, ieps etc.) Since "official" CPS e-mail or a phone call from a school landline is the only way we are supposed to be communicating with parents. This is sort of a big glitch."

    from a reader -- can anyone confirm?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Ours was down. Went back up over the weekend. Some people still might be down. Funny, I NEVER have issues with my gmail account.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    FirstClass seems to have this problem every year just after school starts.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    I've asked around. The problem was with schools moving from one area to another. Now that areas are being abolished in favor of networks, that means all schools this year.

    If you can log in to other applications and haven't changed your password since you last got in to FirstClass, then just wait. If you have changed your password since you last logged in to FirstClass, try your old one.

  • NYC isn't having the school day debate because it's already longer than CPS, says gothamschools -- extended to over 6.5 hours a day a few years ago.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Their day isn't exactly 6.5 hours longer. The schools decide on a school-by-school basis, and the longer day, in many instances seems to be filled by outside contractors, or specifically geared toward certain struggling students.

    This seems like a much more intelligent approach to the issue...rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that Rahm is trying to Ram down our throats.

  • In reply to loserboy:

    Actually the NYC approach is much more dependent on federal and state funding for remedial instruction. Because of the fiscal crisis these funds will either be cut or remain flat over the next few years. CPS can no longer depend on the stability of these funds.

    What CPS is doing is forcing its existing workforce to provide remedial instruction at no extra cost, where NYC and other districts are using various remedial programs funded largely by NCLB dollars to make the day longer. From a fiscal perspective the CPS approach is smarter. CPS I suspect will in the future be forced to reduce payments to charter schools resulting in even lower starting salaries for staff in these schools as the fiscal crisis deepens.

    I am not saying this is the right way to go about this, but it seems to me that this is the difference between the CPS strategy and what is going on in NYC. I am also not saying that the additional time will add up to much for the targeted children in terms of educational and life outcomes.

    Because of the Great Recession we are in employment options for low income urban students who are able to get their ACT scores even into the 20-21 range and graduate from a lower tier colleges may result in taking jobs that do not formally require a college degree. Because of the debt burden these students face coming out of college these students will effectively remain poor for years unless there is a big turn around in the economy.

    The situation is very different for similarly functioning students whose families have accumulated savings. These students can leave college with far less debt, in some cases can get jobs or become interns at companies using family connections. Even if they have to take non-college required jobs they are better off.

    Rod Estvan

  • Dear Alexander, the Chicago Public Schools today launched a longer school day interactive site on the Chicago Public Schools website. The name of the interactive site is "Longer School Day Pioneer Program-90 Additional Instructional Minutes...This School Year." Check it out.

  • That is one slick little site: Does the CTU or other groups have anything to balance the CPS spin?

  • The CTU is still playing catch up!

  • CTU is behing the starting line. A whole new stategy is here--90 minutes is here next year no mater what. Resistance is futile.
    Sure wish they would treat teachers with respect. This bad press is having a negative effect on the school-teachers and students and staff. Even our dedicated principal and assistant. Just sad.

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Dear Anonymous, yes it's very sad!

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