Rahm Supports "Parent Trigger" (Again?)

Add Mayor Emanuel to the list of Democratic lawmakers who have come out in support of the controversial "parent trigger" idea, in which a majority of parents can require dramatic changes at a school without teacher (or even district) approval.  He's quoted in the Orlando Sentinel as coming out in favor:  “If parents find their children stuck in a school that simply isn’t doing the job, we should empower them to force changes by allowing a majority of parents to legally force a failing schools transformation: through administrative changes, bringing in a new operator, or by shutting it down and starting over." According to the Heartland Institute, Emanuel endorsed the idea during his campaign (but obviously hasn't done much about it since then).The approach is being used in California, and debated in Florida.  Many of its supporters are Republican lawmakers but a handful of Democrats -- Arne Duncan, Antonio Villaraigosa, and George Miller -- have also come out in favor of it.


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    So Rahm favors parent voice ONLY when parents ask for one of his favorite privatization schemes like "administrative changes, bringing in a new operator, or by shutting it down and starting over." But when parents--like the many speaking out against the recent schools actions from Piccolo or Dyett--come up with democratically-led, community supported change, it is just "noise". Can we voters trigger a shut down of the Mayor's office?

  • In reply to KatieO:

    We can't wait 4 years. What is the process to recall the mayor? It is a myth that he has a 70% approval rating. I have yet to meet one person who supports him. Maybe I need to hang out with the 1% elite more often.

  • In reply to KatieO:

    Nor does he favor the voice of parents who are fighting the unfunded "longer day."

  • I understand the appeal of such an idea to parents and community members. The problem arises, as often it does, in the implementation. What happens to real-live children during this upheaval and starting-over process? We can't put them in suspended animation during the rebuilding years.

  • In reply to Danaidh:

    Children are accustomed to changing teachers and schools. It's the adults who get upset over school closings.

    I don't necessarly have a problem with the AUSL model being triggered by a parent vote. But I'm doubting that CPS has enough school leadership talent to do many AUSL type takeovers.

    As far as "what happens to the children?", lets look at Crane. Average ACT 14, 58% attendance, about 3 students graduating with an ACT 20 or better. CTU and some parents fight to keep it open. What a joke "it's about the kids". It's about what adults want, and especially CTU jobs.

  • In reply to Donn:


    So now Crane students can have the same success as students at Fenger? Post turnaround stats for Fenger are about the same as the current scores at Crane.

    Students at Marshall and Orr are only fairing slightly better than the ones at Crane after the turnaround. None of the the above mentioned schools have an ACT average score higher than 14.6 so why not closed them all down?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    A Noble school a few blocks from Crane probably has has a mean ACT of about 20, and attendance of 95%. Not all the Crane kids would tolerate the work and disipline, but many would. Pleanty of 8th graders entering Noble have a projected ACT of 14-15.
    I believe there's also a newer IB school not too far away.
    The new plan at Crane seems similiar to what Dunbar was suppose to be. Still a bunch of kids not prepared for post secondary ed.

  • In reply to Donn:

    If the schools are turnarounds how does CTU lose members? I thought they replaced union teachers with other (younger) union teachers?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    They don't directly lose with a turnaround. But they are rightly concerned with the welfare of the current teachers at Crane.

    Noble currently takes 5% of Chicago high school students. They are growing to take 10%.
    If Noble grows, CTU shrinks.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Hey Donn- The question isn't whether "the Crane kids would tolerate the work and disipline" of Noble St., it is whether Noble St. would tolerate the Crane kids. My guess is they would tolerate, oh 5-10%.

    Would you support the parent trigger being used against AUSL and charters?

    Finally, if you think the "parent trigger" is the height of "democracy" you definitely didn't attend school in my "failing" Level 3 History classroom. You certainly would have developed better analysis. Maybe that is what they taught you at Urban (Test) Prep in between PSAE drill and kill.

  • In reply to Donn:


    The expansion of the alternate school system will lead
    to its ultimate demise. Once it must absorb the general
    student population of this city, and its promoters move on
    to other ventures most will crumble into history.
    Parental involvement is a key factor in this movement .
    Charters do separate us from them. Safety is a primary concern
    To parents who give a shit about their kids. But there is
    a huge pool of non parents having kids . I think it is safe to say
    as of right now these offspring are excluded from the alternate
    school network. When the public school system is destroyed
    charters will have to dilute the student body by accepting everybody.
    That will include the damaged kids of this city.

  • What's the matter with Chicago? | Bleader http://ow.ly/9wo4s

  • How about a "voter trigger" for the school board?Then again, Emanuel is not a proponent of true democracy.

    It is a shame he won't be able to hook up with his election-rigging pal Putin at the G-8 Conference.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    A majority of parent voting would be true democracy. As opposed to the show the CTU puts on with some parents to hold on to CTU jobs.

  • Headache299
    Voter trigger for the school board is a great idea! Voter trigger for Rahm is a better one…

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The "vote trigger" is called the general election. If you think the majority of the city is lined up behind the CTU you would be wrong. Personally I'm not thrilled with CPS admin either. Eventually Rahm will be held accountable for his choices.
    But today I am sure the CTU opposses closing horrible schools to protect CTU jobs.

  • Or the CTU is against it because it is a model that DOESN'T WORK. Why fire good teachers to change over a school only to have it fail again.

    Turarounds are all about weakening the Union. And they want the union to weaken because they want education to be a trade job where people making 25-30 k a year are given education scripts and worksheets to children every day, and after 2 years have the teachers move on to a new career. The mayor, the board and the CEO are only concerned about 1 thing: Pulling the public sectors responsibility from education.

  • In reply to FrankThompson:

    Then why is Rahm so supportive of Noble with it's high college graduation rate?
    Outside of the select high schools, CTU has never graduated more than a handful of truly university ready students. A typical Crane grad today is lucky to get a regular job at 25-30K. The top Crane grad is unlikely to be prepared for U. of I.
    I don't know what we do with some of the less capable students at Crane. I do know that the more capable students need to be at a much more rigorous school so they can be ready for university and professional employment.

  • In reply to Donn:

    I think all people really want is for this to be an honest discussion. What we have is the textbook bell curve of ability that is normal in any large human grouping, but where we used to have that curve *within* a school, we now have it *among* schools -- SES at the top end, some neighborhood and some charters (not all of either) in the middle, and some neighborhood and charters on the low end of the curve. I do not think this is the best model for children, because they are not exposed to all kinds of learners and social groupings, but it is the reality of the way CPS wants to organize it. Why is that so hard for people to admit? It is just one of many ways to organize ability levels -- no need to lie about it.

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    This is ridiculous. I have family in IOWA and the schools are incredible. The parents didn't have to do anything but pay taxes and send their children to school. The School Board was accountable for success in THEIR schools. These Chicago BUT-WHOLES are crazy. Students parents and teachers can do nothing about a corrupt system of government except go to the polls on election day and vote these hysteria makers out of office. Parents don't allow CPS or the mayor to make you do their dirty work. Let the cowards do their own dirt. After all they are experts at it. Remember also, they don't like 25% of the students in the system. They are not going to provide any services to help your child unless he/she is already successful and they can take the credit or it.

  • In reply to Carol Jackson:

    Oh gosh, if only 25% of the students were poorly educated, Chicago would be the envy of the world. Rham's a genius if he can get 75% properly educated.
    Considering the amount of social promotion in most regular CPS high schools, the diploma isn't worth much in the outside world. That's why we have city colleges to continue the education of these grads.
    Get your kids in a select high school if possible, or a Noble school.

  • Duh-onn- If your kid is struggling with English, has a learning disability, has a behavioral issue, or is just plain lazy, Noble St. won't accept them. If you are a deadbeat parent, your kid won't even get an application in to Noble St.

    Donn, baby... don't you get it? The mediocre "success" at Noble St. is the result of them skimming average kids with active parents. "CTU scum" teachers like myself deal with those from broken homes, violent communities, dysfunctional families, and drug/crime ridden situations. You and your vaunted Noble St. "teachers" couldn't handle a single day dealing with the socio-economic issues I deal with on a daily basis at my general enrollment neighborhood high school.

    Do you "get it", Donn? Of course you don't because you aren't learning critical thinking skills at Noble St. You are learning how to score a 20 on the ACT though. Congrats on that achievement.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well, now your just making things up.
    About 15% of kids at Noble have IEPs. The school works because
    1) Longer days, the equivalent of an extra school day each week
    2) Longer school year
    3) Incomplete homework means an extra hour of school that day
    4) 95% attendance - the kids go to school full time.

    6500 students - 89% low income, 96% minorities. They didn't get into a SES.
    How many of your "critical thinking" kids go anywhere except remedial city college? How many of your "critical thinking" top students last more than a year or two at a real university? I know these answers and you do too.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Out of those 15% with IEPs which would be about 975 students, I would like to know how many have a diagnosed moderate or severe learning disability. The neighborhood school that I have the pleasure of teaching at has about 23% of students receiving SPED services with about 2/3 of them falling in the moderate to severe category. The type of disability has a direct bearing on the type of supports and services that the student needs to be successful. Students who have been diagnosed with a mild learning disability usually can do pretty well with non-disabled peer with minimal supports and accomodations. Students who have more severe disabilities have a much harder time and require much more support. So if the students with IEPs at Noble and other charters fall in the mildly learning disabled category, it's a whole different ball game. And let's not forget, all those students with the moderate to severe disabilities (you know the ones who are reading at best a 4th grade reading level) take the same tests and their scores are counted in with non-disabled students which brings down the whole school's scores.

    As far as homework, incomplete homework? I have maybe 9 or 10 out of classes of 32 to 35 students who routinely at least attempt to do homework! Guess what? I can't keep them for an hour after school, I can't give them a detention, or do much of anything for that matter. I call parents a couple of times, but get tired of being cussed out for "bothering them with that sh--" and being told not to call again.

    So Donn, when I have the same type of parental and administrative support that Noble schools have, and my students still continue to score poorly, then we can talk.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You seem to be confusing me with Brizzard.
    I'm a proponent of Nobel and other "no excuses" type high schools as a means to make many more minority youth university ready. Nobel has many practices that could never be imposed on an existing high school. That was one of the benefits behind establishing charters.
    If your saying that teachers like you should be appreciated and not feel threatened by layoff, I agree.
    In my observation the best schools are seriously student data informed but have a skilled and respected principal who "calls the shots". Few large school systems work that way anymore.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn- You seem to buy into the argument that longer hours equal better education. Not true- see Payton, Northside, numerous suburban schools, Lincoln Park, the nation of Finland, etc etc ad infinitum.

    The jury is still out on post-high school of charter schools. Do 100% of Urban Prep's 100 last more than a year or two at a real university?

  • Also Don as a decrepit CPS regular teacher I have had more than one former student come to me to say hi and also to say that they "left" Noble because all those demerits, Ds, and Fs were putting the hurt on their parents' pocketbooks.

    Is graduating from Noble more valuable than from a neighborhood HS? You seem to think yes, and I would agree with you. However, that added value does not come from the quality of the teachers or the wisdom of the administration. Just like Giuliani with the grafitti removal in NYC, small details like "bad behavior costs you money" have a significant and compounding affect on the school climate.

    I don't begrudge the NSN this privilege, but I keep coming back to it every time I see voices such as yours or Rahm's heralding the great Renaissance that is Noble.

  • In reply to cklaus76:

    There isn't social promotion at Noble. That's the flaw in any CTU teacher's arguement that Nobles success is just about selectivity and teaching to the test.

    When my relative was a student teacher at Dunbar her class had 60% F's at final. Those were all changed to passing grades.
    D's and F's at Noble means the freshman repeats as a freshman. Of course some leave and complain. Remedial classes exist in all core subjects, AFAIK. It's about the effort of the student.

    CPS teachers aren't responsible for the poor academic state of the typical urban youth that arrives at school. It's also not fair to hold a teacher responsible for the poverty of their students. But what many CTU teachers have lost track of when disbelieving in Noble's effectiveness; That your more capable students should be preparing for university, not city college.

    I don't believe it's possible to improve the bottom 50 high schools enough to make a portion of those schools truely college prep. Whether it's 20% more money, or a CTU plan, or a AUSL plan - whatever. It's not going to make enough difference.

    I believe it's especially important for the black community to push the more capable students ahead. It may be painful to tell the more capable and compliant students that they should leave and test themselves at a harder school.

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