CPS, School Lunch, & ISBE Under Fire

Today's hodgepodge of education news includes reactions from Sen. Soto et al to the school closing process, a followup on the Pearson trips, some new details on the CPS school lunch scandal, and a few other odds and ends.

State task force unhappy with CPS school action process, activities Catalyst:   Rendina took notes, but did not provide any definitive answers or agree to make any changes. Rendina also attempted to explain why some 80 students at Guggenheim School had transfer notices delivered to their homes over Christmas break.

Ill. Superintendent's Trips Investigated Fox: They were paid for with grants to the CCSSO from the Pearson Foundation , a non-profit branch of the Pearson Corporation , the nation's largest education company. It's got $130 million worth of contracts with the state of Illinois alone.

School free-lunch program dogged by abuses at CPS Tribune: The Tribune found that in at least 167 Chicago schools, the percentage of students receiving free lunches was at least 20 percentage points higher than the percentage enrolled in the country's two primary aid programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and Temporary Aid for Needy Families, or TANF. At North-Grand, the discrepancy was 41 percentage points, and six schools had gaps of 60 points or more, according to 2011 records released by the Illinois State Board of Education and CPS.

New standards for sex ed by grade level Medill:  CPS is reviewing and analyzing the recommendations, representative Marielle Sainvilus said. The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health will start advocating for the use of these standards in schools this year.

Chicago high school basketball coach charged with instigating fight Tribune: His Facebook page says he works security and is head basketball coach at Ace, a charter school specializing in the construction trades, 5410 S. State St.

South Side Students To Compete With Their Poetry CBS:  Thirteen South Side Chicago Public Schools go at it in competition this evening, where the students will be flexing their creative muscles.

QuestChicago update and some other stuff… CPSObsessed:  It’s based on a similar charter that operates in NYC and is sort of billed as the “video game school” no as much in terms of technology, but in terms of game-based thinking, which I can imagine would be appealing to my son.

That's a picture of my dad at work.  A Senn graduate and longtime Columbia College teacher, he died nine years ago this week.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • The intentional fraud needs to be investigated and if found to be factual then let the employees make headlines. However, on the other hand can we please measure poverty another way in our schools and simply feed every child who walks through our doors? Feeding children is something CPS has the potential to do very well and I am willing to to speculate here and now that the savings in man hours deciding who is eligible for what would go a long way toward footing the bill. We have no justifiable reason for hungry children in the classroom, lets stop micro managing feeding kids.

  • FWIW, i'm told that there are no rules about bringing in outside protesters to closing hearings or requirements that attendees be from the school or neighborhood affected.

    were there anti-closing protesters there from outside the neighborhood, too?

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Wouldn't these type of public meetings be covered by the Open Meetings Act ? Then that is where the standard lies for who gets in the door and stays.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    The problem is not that they were there, but that they were PAID to be there. Someone filled a bus load of people at $25 a person to be there and protest. One of the people did not even know where they were going until he realized it was his OWN high school , which he did not want to support its closing at all !
    It was not reported that anyone spoke against the school except for those paid people.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Yes, but those people get labeled as "pro-Union activists".

  • The fact that people attend hearings from outside the neighborhood is not the problem, though it can be problematic if it diminishes the voice of those most affected.

    The fact that CPS/Rahm/whoever is PAYING people from outside the neighborhood to attend the hearings IS a problem. That is totally inappropriate for a public hearing.

  • Regarding the "new" Sex Ed standards...once again the powers that be are rehashing old information pretending it is new.

    I became certified in Family Life Education at Chicago Public Schools about 15 years ago and the curriculum was grade centered, encouraged abstinence, included HIV/STD awareness and prevention, and anatomy and physiology; puberty and adolescent development; identity; pregnancy and reproduction; sexually transmitted diseases and HIV; healthy relationships; and personal safety.

    The problem is that many people were certified but were not utilized. But is that news at CPS?

    What's new is old. It won't mean anything if not utilized.

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    The mayor's allies are paying people to speak up for business interests and against the best interests of children while at the same time claiming there's not enough money available.

    In this case, they are doing it specifically to support CPS' process of handing $600 million to a board member and CAO's cronies while it still rains inside my classroom.

    It may be some giant misunderstanding, but that seems pretty bad on the face of it to me.

  • In reply to Xian Barrett:

    And there were architects taking pictures at Pablo Casals School of small cracks in the walls during Xmas break so they know how they are going to spend the 5 MILLION dollars Casals is supposed to receive from the Capital Funds money.
    We'd vote to give your school the money and fix your leaky roof !

  • The State Task Force meeting on Jan. 12th was fantastic ... an audience full of angry and frustrated parents and teachers about the way CPS is dealing with these proposed school actions, a very receptive and sympathetic task force ( except for the CPS dummy) who couldn't believe what they were hearing, and an absolutely amazing Cecile Carroll from Blocks Together putting it all together and calling the Task Force to vote on a resolution. State Rep. Soto and State Senator Martinez were incredibly accessible and supportive , bringing a great deal of common sense to the discussion and calling CPS to step up and do what's right.
    Shame on Chicago's media for not covering this event better ... the Spanish Univision was there and some newspapers, but no other stations came. Sure, we had a few inches of snow on the ground, but honestly, not one camera from Ch. 2, 5 or 7 was available ? We don't know it, but we live in a lousy media town !

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    2,5&7 have been failing to even adequately inform the chicago public on important matters for a long long - and the anchor people know it…but they like the money and fame, so they read their autocues as directed

  • In reply to Anonymous:

    AGREED ! I did not realize how poorly things are covered until I actually knew something about the topic they were covering ! They really just repeat the nonsense CPS feeds them without question ~

  • In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    It's not just how poorly it's covered, it's deliberately not covered. None of the major news outlets are going to report on something that makes Rahm's PR machine look bad, because there are too many corporate interests who love Rahm that also have ownership (therefore say-so) in the major media news outlets (just read the Tribune's drivel if you don't believe it). If they were REAL journalists, then we might get some investigations going into some of these clearly fraudulent activities, but right now, it's mostly ignored.

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    In reply to 30-Yr. Vet:

    corporate media support the pirate intrests of the 1%

  • Lunch form problems--granted, people will cheat and they do get caught. The form is ridiculous to fill out and difficult to put in the CPS system. Everything due in just a few weeks after school starts or the school will lose lots of $$$$. We have parents who cannot write and they have to fill out the form. Parents who dont know their incomes and fill the form out wrong. Parents who do not have social security numbers and are afraid to fill it out. Instead of CPS paying $$ for a profit complany who is not helpful with longer school day--get a proper consultant to make this lunch form system honest and acurate and easier to file and input. That idea is too reasonable for CPS.
    (Note--the food service people are working hard--but there are too many bosses-cheifs with wrong info-the food vendors like chartwells and preferfoods--to much misinfo and the push to get in principals who have little or no expereince as an AP also cause these problems.)

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