Debating Rahm's Retreat

Today's education news focuses on two main issues -- the secrecy surrounding the LSC elections (part of a long tradition) and reactions to the shorter longer school day announced on Tuesday (was it a big win or no?).  Oh, and Madeleine Albright visited Lindblom (hi, Molly!).

LSC SECRECY

Public waits for information about candidates running for LSC positions AustinTalks: But the requests were met with miscommunication and delays that appear to be the result of recent Chicago Public Schools' changes leaving employees swamped with requests and no plan to easily make public information available to the public.

Charge CPS obstruction on LSC election info CMW: Citing “privacy” concerns, CPS has required Center Square Journal and Austin Talks to file FOIA requests for lists of candidates, candidate statements and contact information, according to reports.  In the past that information was routinely released.

CPS Policies Hinder Promotion of LSC Candidates and Elections Center Square Journal:  With Local School Council elections weeks away on April 18 and 19, Chicago Public Schools obstructed their own efforts to promote LSC elections by taking more than a week to make the names of Local School Council candidates available to the press or public, a new low for CPS, according to one of the original authors of the LSC concept.

SHORTER LONGER DAY

School Day Extension Revised To Seven Hours Progress Illinois: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced yesterday that the Chicago Public Schools will extend the school day next year from five hours and 45 minutes to seven hours.

Rahm gets his way, parents want a say on longer day Mark Brown:  Many of the parents who had been pressing Emanuel to opt for a 6œ-hour day for elementary schools remained unconvinced Tuesday that the mayor had listened to them.This was particularly true of the ones who were blocked from attending the mayor’s news conference at Disney II.

Show Your Support for a Quality School Day Friday RYH:  We've gotten over 1,000 signatures in five days. This Friday we are going to be delivering the petition to the Mayor's office at 4pm. Help us by  attending and showing your support for a quality day.

Emanuel retreats on 7.5-hour school day WBEZ: Emanuel downplayed the fact he was revising his controversial original proposal.  "We are gonna go from 170 days to 180 days, from 5 hours and 45 minutes to 7 hours. That comes to 40 additional days of instruction. That’s 8 weeks more of learning," Emanuel said.

The [Wednesday] Papers Beachwood Reporter:  Rahm has shown a penchant for announcing big policy plans before doing his homework.

Rahm backs off 7.5 hour day PURE: Kudos to all the organizers, especially Wendy Kattan and Jonathan Goldman, who have pulled together an impressive, diverse collection of parent and community groups who have had their fill of the arrogant, unresponsive, irresponsible school board and administration.

Baby Steps Toward A Normal Day School Tech Connect: With Rahm, though, the 7.5 hour day was probably just a jonah. He probably only wants a 6.5 hour day and is waiting for more people to squirm before he decides to look like a man of the people. So while we have a bit of a victory here, it will be turned somehow against the teachers because the mayor is not an honest broker. Not in these matters.

Rahm's pirouette Substance:  Reporters were invited to join the mayor and CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard for some time in a classroom, then a large group representing the diversity of Chicago was assembled around the mayor's portable podium for the speeches to the press, followed by a limited number of questions from reporters.

MISC

Albright speaks to local students ABC7: Lindblom has the largest Arabic and Chinese language program in Chicago Public Schools. Some students chosen for this private forum with Secretary Albright appreciated the global focus of the visit and their studies at Lindblom.

CPS gets visits from Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and NATO representatives Tribune:Chicago Public Schools students will be getting a crash course in global politics this spring, first when several Nobel Peace Prize laureates visit later this month and then during the NATO Summit in May. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright,...

CPS Food Workers Demand Fresher Food Fox: Does it matter whether Chicago Public Schools serves your child freshly cooked meals, or frozen meals that get heated up?

Repainting the walls Chicago Journal: The Chicago High School for the Arts, which offers its students the opportunity to focus on dance, music, theater and visual arts alongside their regular classes, is moving into Malcolm X College's old building in 2015.

U of C charter students honor Trayvon Martin Catalyst: High school students from the University of Chicago Charter School in Woodlawn marched from their campus to 63rd Street and University Avenue Wednesday morning for an assembly in remembrance of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by a self-described neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida.

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  • The "all-knowing" Emperor Emanuel caves on the "full school day", questioned about his shady infrastructure "trust", loses the G8, gets caught up in a no-bid contract scam with CTA, and has to answer questions regarding a 60% increase in homicides. Am I missing anything? Seems like this know-it-all is being revealed as a know-nothing.
    I've heard more anti-mayor talk in the last few weeks than I ever have before including the depths of King Richie's administration. I have not found one person (besides hack propagandists from out of town) who has had anything positive to say in months... this despite his claim that he has a 70% approval rating. Ha.

  • I enjoy reading the blog. However I get a little frustrated by journalists and news organizations that continue to serve as echo chambers of the BOE / Mayor. No one ever challenges them. They simply repeat the talking points, i.e.( the number of parents who support a 7-7.5 hour day). Has anyone actually taken a formal poll. A motley crew of parent organization from all over the city was referenced as a small vocal minority. And yet the parents of the fifteen pioneer schools that are supposedly supportive are a "SILENT MAJORITY". When will the facts start to matter?

  • We need to be focusing on helping schools to work smarter not longer. I mean the notion of a longer day sounds so rational. More time in school = better educated kids. This whole debate reminded of Parkinson's Law, which contends that the "WORK EXPANDS TO FILL THE TIME GIVEN FOR ITS COMPLETION". In other words if I give you a month to complete an assignment, most of will put it off until the last minute or spread it out into manageble segments. We aren't going to be more productive as a result of the added time. This time will get squandered (And that's not a diss against the teachers who have been unfairly scapegoated in the last few years). I mean no one at the board of education has articulated a plan for the time; they can't even tell us what a successful implementation of this policy will look like. How do they plan to measure the success of this initiative. I can understand why it's being characterized as a slogan. " Vote for me . I increased the school year and now Chicago is #1 in length of the school day. "

  • I also don't understand why people keep repeating this falsehood about the Houston Public School system. As if they are some beacon of reform that the rest of us should admire. 1) Firstly, it was a pilot program for only some schools and the participating schools received additional monetary support for it's implementation. 2) Houston students have performed no better than CPS in terms of measureable learning outcomes. NO BETTER. There is no large urban district that has successfully solved the achievement gap. The longer school day studies that CPS says show the benefits of longer days are inconclusive at best. Why don't focus on things that work like reducing the class size and investing in early education. The problem with CPS is that each administration begins their tenure by replacing "the old initiative" with the "new initative". Schools are always in a state of planning and implementing. Teachers grow tired of investing their energy, their professional development time, on "ideas" that have little research based evidence or field testing to show they work. No wonder teacher feel so pessimistic about the "new flavor of the month". The board has conditioned teachers to be skeptical and begrudgingly compliant. But in the back of their mind they are just waiting for the milk to spoil. Common Core will have an expiration date too. Just wait. Thanks

  • In reply to tlfrantz:

    I admire your passion, but remember Duncan/Emanuel/Brizard/Pritzker et. al. are not truly interested in improving education for the children of Chicago. I know it is hard to believe, but get that thought out of your head. Their primary goal is to slash education spending and to increasingly privatize public education.

  • Not a fan of the aforementioned. I was actually trying to be facetious about this simplistic notion that more time will lead to higher achievement. My main point was that if all we do is add time on the clock it's not going to make a difference in terms of closing the achievement gap. Although it could be a part of the solution. That being said, I do think there should be some compensation for the extra time teachers will spend in the classroom. The notion that CPS teachers have part time jobs is laughable and offensive. When students are dismissed I still have work to do. I don't see a lot of teachers making a b-line to the parking lot with sparks on their heels. We are still on campus-grading papers, coaching, leading extra-curricular activities, planning, mentoring and a doing a host of other tasks that we will carry home with us. When my two kids are in bed and the dishes are put away, I start a second shift. I'm at the table focused on my other kids, my students.

  • In reply to tlfrantz:

    I will say this last thing; for the taxpayers (which by the way includes teachers) we're not tone deaf to the financial challenges that we are facing in these times. However the tone of conversation, the rhetoric, the scapegoating of teachers has really damaged any goodwill that teachers were bringing to the negotiation table. The BOE and city should open it's books and look at the no-bid contracts and cronyism that is costing tax payers millions of dollars in goods/services that are out of step with the market e.g.(CPS milk contract). The citizens are getting gauged. Message for Rahm "you catch more bees with honey than vinegar". It's really helped strengthen our resolve and compel teachers like me to see the necessity of a strong unions. Thanks for the gift.

  • In reply to tlfrantz:

    I totally agree. Teachers work their butts off. My husband is a teacher and he has NO time due to all the work he does regarding his job. He gets to work every morning at 6:30 and does not leave school until usually 2:30 or 3:00 ( sometimes later). He then gets home and eats dinner and continues to work grading papers, updating the online gradebook, doing lesson plans and also calling parents at times. He gets done usually around 8:00 at night. He also does alot of work on the weekends as well. I will admit before I met my husband, I always assumed being a teacher was easy. BOY was I wrong. I have to say that I think being a teacher has got to be one of the hardest jobs there is. Teachers do not get anywhere near the respect they deserve here, unlike in other countries. I hope that things will eventually change for the better for the children and teachers alike.

  • In reply to fedup:

    Oh, I also forgot to mention, why is it that when teachers are asking for raises or more pay it automatically means that they are selfish and should be focusing on the children?? Ummm, dont teachers have kids, and families that need to fed as well like everyone else out there?? Also, you cannot even call it a raise regarding the pay the teachers want for working a longer day. They just want to be paid their hourly rate for the extra work, just like anyone else would expect!

  • In reply to fedup:

    ... another tired cannard "if it is good for teachers it is bad for kids"... remember, we choose to work with YOUR children for the entire school year. What is good for us is also good for children. We are with them all day. We don't benefit from being around underresourced underserved children.
    The argument regarding teachers working for less should logically extend to all occupations. Doctors should work for pennies so all can afford health care. Police should work for free so more officers can be hired. Mayors should not accept camapaign contributions so that money could go to the children. Pritzkers should slash prices at Hyatt Regencys so children can enjoy longer vacations. Basically, we should all work for free. Don't you care about the children?

  • too funny -love it.....

  • Could not have said it better!! It is so true though.

  • Headache299
    Right! It’s like saying, “Clean hypodermic needles for doctors are bad for patients…”

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