School Closing Debate Intensifies

Hope you had a good weekend.  Thanks to everyone who read or wrote in to the open discussion (see below).  Today's news is a mish-mash of school closing protests,  downstate doings, and a pretty intense story about homeless families in Chicago.

Protests rev up to stop school closings, turnarounds WBEZ: With a megaphone to amplify their chants, dozens of students, parents and teachers marched around Piccolo Elementary Specialty School after the dismissal bell rang Friday, protesting the district’s plans to re-staff the school and turn it over to an outside nonprofit to run.

Jean-Claude Brizard on CPS 'Chronic Underperformers' Fox Chicago: The ongoing "dialog" between the CEO of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union took a new downward turn, with the announcement of big changes at a bunch of schools deemed "chronic underperformers."

Emanuel pushes for passage of state tax incentives WBEZ:  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he's staying involved in getting the state's major tax package passed. Last week the tax package including incentives for the CME Group was shot down by the Illinois House of Representatives.

For Homeless Families, A Long, Hard Road CNC: A nearly three-year evaluation of Daley’s program by researchers at the University of Chicago and Loyola University tracked more than 500 homeless people for a year and found a fragmented system that inhibited progress.

The terrible cost of dropping out Tribune: American educators and parents spend years drumming a message into teenagers: Don't quit school. You won't find a job. You'll wind up in jail. You'll ruin your life. Too many kids don't listen.

Penny Pritzker opens private equity firm Tribune: Businesswoman Penny Pritzker has launched her own private equity firm called PSP Capital Partners. According to a source, Pritzker has moved out of her office in the Hyatt Center and into 300 N. LaSalle St., where the private equity firm is based. PSP'...

Jose Rico Appointed New Director White House Initiative on Hispanic ... Hispanically Speaking News: Prior to his work with the Administration, Rico served from 2005-2009 as principal of Chicago's Multicultural Arts High School, named by then Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan as founding principal in 2005.

Fears of G8, NATO protests move Chicago school events: Chicago-area high schools, colleges and other institutions are casting a wary eye on the international summits coming to the city next spring.

Proposal would up fines by $3,000 for having guns or drugs near schools Sun Times: The City Council’s Public Safety Committee approved an ordinance that would impose a new $3,000 fine against anyone convicted of gang loitering, narcotics-related loitering or weapons violations within 500 feet of a school.

Local union cries foul over contract with company that makes Oscars Sun-Times: ... of a contract and doesn't do anything in between to help employees prosper and help companies prosper, I don't think that's an effective union,” added Siegel, who was a former Chicago Public Schools teacher and member of the Chicago Teachers Union.


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  • metropolitan HS exchange program described in the tribune,0,4200091.story

  • I just read the "Jean-Claude Brizard on CPS 'Chronic Under-performers' article.

    It seems as if Fox Chicago is 'chronically' underperforming in math estimation. Paragraph two of the article reads, "one result is that dozens of teachers are likely to lose their jobs" and the next states that Brizard will enact 'school actions in 20 schools.'

    Dozens of teachers are likely to lose their job?! More like hundreds! Somehow the word 'dozens' seems to downplay Blizard's strategic plan to spike Chicago unemployment.

  • In times of high unemployment, you really have to demonize those that are being fired in order to convince the general public that even greater unemployment is 'good for kids.'

  • Pablo Casals attended the Piccolo picket to show support for the common cause these 2 schools face , that of saving their neighborhood schools for the neighborhoods. It has become clear that the true reason these 2 schools are on the list , specially Casals, is that they are both feeder high schools to Orr HS , which AUSL has not been able to work it's "magic" yet , although they took over in 2007. By acquiring these 2 schools this year, and probably more & more each year , AUSL is hoping to build its own network of AUSL elementary schools in the Orr HS area , to bring higher performing kids to Orr and finally "fix" it. So , unlucky for Casals / Piccolo to be in the Orr area - and everybody else that is in its area better watch out - YOU are next !

  • To 30-Yr. Vet
    Sadly, most CPS teachers still cannot read the "Your Fired" writing on their very own 'word' walls.

  • 12 more charters proposed by CPS says CNC

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    12 New Charter Campuses Proposed Over the Next Two School Years to Provide Higher Quality School Options for 9,200 Students in High-Need Communities throughout Chicago

    CHICAGO--Chicago Public Schools will propose 12 new charter school campuses aimed at providing a higher quality school option for 9,200 students in high-need communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides. The addition of these schools is part of the district’s overarching strategy to provide high quality educational options for every child, in every community to further the district’s mission of graduating all students ready for college and career. The proposals will go before the Board of Education for a vote on Wednesday.

    “With more than 120,000 CPS students currently in underperforming schools, we are working to expand access to higher quality school options in every community to help serve the needs of students that the system has failed – and do so quickly with the options available to us. Charters are one tool we can use to expand these opportunities as we also take steps to provide all schools with new tools to boost student achievement, including lengthening the school day to create more time for instruction in math, reading and science, and building a more rigorous curriculum to better prepare students for college and career,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard.

    The majority of the charter campuses under consideration, 10, are replications of existing charter schools. These charter operators have proven track records of boosting student achievement and creating strong learning environments that promote student academic growth. Expansions of existing charter include:

    · Noble Charter School Network would replicate its charter campuses, opening two new 9-12 campuses in 2012 and two new 9-12 campuses in 2013. This would add 3,600 high quality seats for students across the four campuses. Noble currently operates ten campuses throughout the city with students in the majority of those campuses outperforming the district.

    · UNO Charter School Network is slated to open three new K-8 campuses in September 2013. The majority of UNO campuses outperform the district on ISAT tests.

    · LEARN Charter School Network would open three new K-8 campuses, one in September 2012 and two in September 2013. The LEARN Charter School network currently operates five charter campuses throughout Chicago within high-need communities. Campuses currently receiving CPS ratings are demonstrating strong academic performance and growth.

    In addition, CPS is proposing to add two new charters:

    · Catalyst Schools proposes to open a new K-12 charter school located in the Chicago Lawn community at 6727 S. California, the former Maria High School Building. Catalyst Schools provide high-quality, college preparatory education in high need areas with a focus on civic responsibility and college success.

    · Christopher House, Inc. aims to open a new K-8 charter school in the fall of 2012 located at 2250 N. Latrobe in the Belmont-Cragin community. Christopher House has a track record of running successful education programs for 4,000 Chicago children, focusing on early childhood programs, youth development programs and supportive services for the entire family. Christopher House has committed to building a Family Resource Center on the proposed school site that will offer social services, family supports, parent classes, and other resources to students and their families.

    The majority of campuses proposed will be located in high-need areas on the South and West Sides of Chicago. The campuses proposed have undergone an extensive review process. CPS announced the initial requests for qualifications in April, followed by requests for proposals in June. Recommendations were reviewed by senior leadership in September. Comprehensive outreach to communities about the proposed charters included 5 community forums in October and a formal Public Hearing held on November 22, 2011. As schools select locations, additional community hearings will be held in each of those neighborhoods to gain input from the parents and other key stakeholders.

    CPS has authorized 41 charters to organizations to run schools throughout the district. Currently, there are 109 charter campuses citywide serving approximately 44,000 students, which represent 11% of all students in CPS. State Law caps the total number of charters that CPS can provide at 70.

  • State Takeovers of School Districts Have Had Mixed Results -

  • urban debate!?

    “Impact of participating in a policy debate program on academic achievement: Evidence from the Chicago Urban Debate League” by Briana Mezuk, Irina Bondarenko, Suzanne Smith, and Eric Tucker, Education Research and Reviews, Vol. 6(9), pp. 622-635, September 2011.

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