Archive for January 2012

Emanuel Skirts, Fans Controversy

The paid protesters story is finally approaching City Hall — as is the Mayor’s appearance in a pro-charter video.  Check out all the education coverage here.  Scroll down to the previous post for coverage of the Casals and Piccolo hearings. Mayor skirts sticky patronage questions Tribune:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday declined to say whether it’s... Read more »

Not Enough Time For Casals*

Veteran reporter Paul Bowker was at tonight’s hearing on what to do with Casals Elementary, one of the most controversial of the proposed turnarounds and closings on the 2012 CPS list.  It sounds like a pretty frustrating event: More than 100 people attended the Casals hearing tonight, which consisted of 45 minutes of testimony from... Read more »

It's Monday, Everyone

Bart and Lisa say “good morning.”  Today’s news includes stories about this weekend’s new schools expo, continuing coverage of the paid protesters scandal, and a few other bits about school closings, raising the dropout age, and the like.  There are also a couple of items from over the weekend if you scroll down or check... Read more »

How Reform Lost Seth Lavin

There were no kids in class on Friday, for better or worse.  During the week ahead, there are more hearings about school closings and turnarounds.  Then report cards get sent home and it's February.  Most of you who comment here are angrily (or, it seems, gleefully) opposed to most everything Emanuel and Brizard are trying to do.  (It's much the same at the national level.)  But there are many others, readers and those too busy or turned off by the fighting to read or comment, who see the obvious need for change and want to believe that Emanuel and Brizard can deliver at least some of the improvements for kids that have been promised. (Seriously, Chicago schools have really got to get better, and not everything that's gone wrong with them can reasonably be blamed on Vallas, Duncan, Huberman, or Brizard, or poverty, or NCLB, or whatever.)  But it's not an easy thing to believe in change, to hope, to leap, and sometimes the folks leading the charge for change don't make it any easier by being, well, a little full of themselves, or picking unlikely or unwise strategies for making things better.  They make it easy to doubt, or even reject the notion that change -- this kind of change, at least -- can work. Why am I bringing this up now?  Well, one of those reform-curious people going through the process of belief and doubt is former teacher Seth Lavin, who writes Chicago Schools Wonks.*  In the excerpt below, you can see Lavin is struggling in a way I think many people like him are struggling.  He's not saying anything particularly new -- you read and hear this all over the place these last few months in particular - but he's articulating a thought process that I think is important for everyone to understand, reformers and counter-reformers alike. You can be gleeful about his doubts -- I have no doubt you will be -- but it would be so much more interesting if you shared your own instead, mirroring his self-re...

Paid Protesters Not A New Thing

Here’s an interesting bit of contextual information on the rent-a-protester scandal:  Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller notes that this isn’t the first time that anyone’s paid random people to fill a room — the big ComEd debate in Springfield is one example — and that Rev. Watkins was involved way back then, too [here.] See also... Read more »

Parents Push Back Against 7.5 Hours

Pushback against the 7.5 hour school day seems to be building, at least in terms of media coverage, along with other followup from Wednesday’s Board meeting and previews of this weekend’s New Schools Expo, now in its 5th year. Parents cite growing opposition to longer school day Sun Times:  Parents charged Wednesday that the opposition to... Read more »

Too Many Arrests, Not Enough Transparency

Police arrests are too frequent on CPS school grounds, disproportionately affect young black men, and aren’t tracked and reported publicly by CPS as they are in other cities, notes a new report calling for the city council to require such reporting. Are principals too quick to involve police, and is CPS being too slow to... Read more »

Uh, Oh! Some Parents Oppose Long Day

Coverage of yesterday’s Board meeting includes reporting on community protest against closing and turnaround plans, parents who don’t want such a long day as CPS is proposing, and a fainting incident. The paid protesters are being investigated, too. Anger Over Closures at School Board Meeting CNC: Community members and parents from seven of the schools affected—Crane,... Read more »

The Paid Protester Problem

Paid protesters, today’s Board meeting, and school lunches top today’s education news: Ministers call paying protesters unusual Sun Times:  Reacting to allegations that “rent-a-protesters” packed recent school closing hearings, two ministers said Tuesday it is not common practice for Chicago clergy to pay people to attend hearings or “training.” Paid protesters a new force in school... Read more »

Education In The State Of The Union

What to make of the education elements of the President’s speech last night?  Not that much, to be honest.  For all the media attention the event generates it’s just a speech — one given during an election year; a week, a month, a year from now, the real-world impact of Obama’s remarks will be minimal.... Read more »