A Single HS Application Process - Maybe

Today's news includes word that CPS will attempt to coordinate its multiple high school application processes -- perhaps even charters -- and some updates on school closing changes.  There's also some more info on the principal training expansion and on the Lewis thing, which I'll put in previous posts.

CPS expected to make it easier to apply to high schools Sun Times:   Currently, eighth graders can face five different application forms for seats at magnet, college prep, military, career and technical education, International Baccalaureate.

CPS Application Plan Moves Ahead CNC: It is not known if charter schools would be included on the application. District spokeswoman Marielle Sainvilus said the resolution is the first step in creating a common application and none of the specifics have been decided.

CPS moves forward on single hs application Catalyst: Ever since Arne Duncan’s tenure there has been talk of streamlining the process of applying to schools. Not only is it hard for students to navigate, but also neighborhood schools are stuck waiting to see who will end up on their rolls as students try to get into other schools.

Parent-Teacher Conferences Little Kids, Big City:  Parent-Teacher conferences give me hives. And it’s happening tomorrow. I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from my 11th grade parent-teacher conference when I sat there with tears burning hot trails of shame down my face as my teachers grilled me for my D in Calculus, C in Physics and B’s in my other classes.

Hearing on school closings shifts to talk of quality, equity of education WBEZ:  Dozens of community members came to a South Side hearing on school closings Wednesday evening.

First salvos fired in Chicago Public Schools' closing fightWBEZ: The Chicago Board of Education today heard arguments for and against upcoming school closings. Top CPS officials said some schools just cannot be improved, at least not quickly.

South Loop mulls education options Chicago Journal: Some parents lamented that the Chicago Public Schools central office makes these decisions, sometimes with little community interaction.

Charges dropped against Fenger football coach after teen fight ABC7Chicago: A Fenger High School football coach is back on the field after charges filed against him in connection with a teen fight were ''unsubstantiated,'' according to Chicago Public Schools.

A formula for success in Chicago's schools Austin Weekly News: There's a trifecta, Chicago Public Schools Chief Jean-Claude Brizard says, that leads to great schools - leadership, teachers and curriculum.

Chicago Public Schools teacher Kickstarting ESL program through song A.V. Club Chicago: Chicago Public Schools teacher Matt Baron is trying to change the way students learn with an album of curriculum-based rock songs, and his Kickstarter campaign is helping him fund it. Baron teaches elementary English as a Second Language (ESL) student.


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  • here's CTU's new critique of the school closing process proposed for this year:

    Chicago Teachers Union critiques CPS School Actions Guidelines; calls for moratorium on “School Closings” this year
    Lewis: "CPS set to close schools it never tried to save; lack of support cited…"
    CHICAGO – A Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) analysis of Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) School Action Guidelines for school closings and consolidations found the new policy does not help improve student achievement and will not help the district reach its goal of providing “quality” schools in every community. Union officials join the growing list of parents, teachers and community leaders in the call for a moratorium on all “school actions” this year.
    CPS will announce its list of “school actions” by December 1st, having earlier said that 42 percent of its schools are on academic probation. The CTU plans a series of activities, including a citywide “Teach-In on Stopping School Closings” on Saturday, December 3rd at 10:00 a.m. at King College Prep High School, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd. At the event parents, educators, clergy and community activists will discuss strategies on how to save neighborhood schools from unnecessary or arbitrary closures.
    “The guidelines are more of the same failed policies and practices of previous CPS administrations: moving too quickly to close neighborhood schools and replace them with charter schools without ever demonstrating that CPS faithfully tried to adequately support struggling neighborhood schools,” said CTU President Karen GJ Lewis. “Too often, a school is put on the ‘school action’ list and then CPS gives the building to a publicly-funded but privately-managed charter school which will not be held accountable to the same guidelines. We support a moratorium on all ‘school actions’ this year.”
    The Chicago Consortium on School Research’s (CCSR) “Five Essential Supports” addresses the problems that schools face. Closing, phasing out, restructuring/turning-around and co-locating schools are not remedies for low-performing schools. CPS keeps stating that “far too many underperforming schools are not preparing our children for college and career,” but CPS is not telling us what exactly it has tried to do over the years to help support struggling schools, and there has not been a publicly stated hypothesis for why these campuses continue to struggle.

    CTU's Research Department arrived at the following conclusions about the School Action Policy:
    Closing schools for academic reasons is rarely a good idea.
    Schools on probation are supposed to get assistance from CPS.
    The social and academic supports that the receiving schools will get should have been provided to the school they close.
    The School Action remedies are not appropriate for low-performing schools. The CCSR’s “Five Essential Supports” addresses the problems. (see below)
    CPS has had problems rolling out its Performance Policy because it analyzes different data than the previous system. The Common Core State Standards go into effect next year, again disrupting trend data, an important component of the Performance Policy.
    Charter schools are exempt from the “school action” process, as they are exempt from the Performance Policy (Board Report 10-0728-P04). Several charter schools are on probation and would qualify for a School Action.
    Value-Added is a major component of this process, yet it has been proven to be flawed on many levels.
    Using CPS Network averages is problematic because the range and diversity across the large geographies make the comparison of the schools biased, especially when magnet and gifted schools are included.
    Using the 25th percentile on the growth component of the Performance Policy, a quarter of the schools will always be considered failing even if they are doing well.
    “’Five Essential Supports’ have been calculated for every school in the district. Why can’t CPS take this analysis and work with the schools to build up these supports,” asked CTU Chief Researcher Dr. Carol Caref. “Why would closing, phasing out or otherwise restructuring a school solve the issue of under-performance?”

    In addition, the analysis said CPS and the Network Chiefs should already monitor all schools to ensure each school receives the supports it needs in order for all students to achieve academic success.

    These School Action Guidelines do not take into consideration the availability of important school supports until stage 3 – Transition Plans – and only then provides those supports to the receiving school, which is much too late to help the students reach their full potential.

    “This shows CPS’ lack of sincerity in ensuring that all schools are equally supported. Nor does it reflect a commitment to creating higher quality educational options for students,” Caref said.

    The use of a Value-Added metric in determining whether or not schools get on this list for possible school actions is also problematic. A large body of research shows this metric does not account for the severe disadvantages and lack of resources faced by students and school staff in some communities. Value-Added is not a valid measure of school performance and should not be used for high stakes decisions.

    For high schools, this policy will include “Freshman On-Track” and “Drop-out Rate.” Measurement of these components is fraught with errors such as failing to account for grade repetition, student re-enrollments and transfers, and inconsistency, among others. Such measures can also be heavily biased against under-resourced schools.

  • right on the mark! 20 years and CPS has failed to show any measurable improvement, cannot demonstrate how they will in the near or distant future, yet continues to push the same failed agenda time and again…

  • If we could only edit this critique down to a 10 second video…

  • why is the new HS selection program going to cost so much, wonder some of the commenters at cps obsessed


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