Catalyst Takes Notice

Today's news is all over the place, with seemingly no rhyme or reason. The only thing notable among the group is Catalyst's link back to this site (about the previous post).  Doesn't happen much.  They also have a couple of stories about kindergarten readiness and special ed teacher evaluations.  What's the theme at your school or your neighborhood?

Illinois boy, 12, earns perfect SAT math score WBEZ: To say sixth-grader Joshua Yoon is good at math might be an understatement.Years before most students take their college entrance exams, the 12-year-old Buffalo Grove boy earned a perfect score of 800 on the mathematics portion of the SAT.The Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports that Yoon

Special education teacher evaluation Catalyst:  The Chicago Teachers Union, which opposes the use of value-added scores, says the plan for special education teachers is flawed.

Chicago-area educator to lead West Bloomfield schools Detroit News: West Bloomfield Township — The leader of a suburban Chicago school district has been hired as the next superintendent of the West Bloomfield School District.

Chicago rap's new class Red Eye:  Keef, a Chicago Public Schools student, is on house arrest at his grandmother's house following an incident last year when he allegedly pointed a gun at Chicago police officers. Media chatter was stirred up in April when police were called to a concert ...

Education Secretary Arne Duncan endorses gay marriage Chicago Phoenix:  Arne Duncan, the US secretary of education and the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, says he supports same-sex marriage during an interview on MSNBC's “Morning Joe”.

CHA considers new math for mixed-income equation WBEZ: It's been 12 years since the Chicago Housing Authority embarked on its Plan for Transformation, the effort to dismantle the city's notorious high rise housing projects. So far the results so far have been less than stellar.

Evergreen Park Parents Warned About Gang Funeral Near Schools CBS2: A funeral today for a suspected gang member has put several schools in Evergreen Park on alert.

Kindergarten readiness kits on the way Catalyst:  The assessment has previously come under fire from teachers who say it eats up too much classroom time and assesses children on material some believe is too advanced.



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  • Looks like CPS sent this info to (post & thread about the budget/s):

    39. cpsobsessed | May 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Here is a note from CPS about the thread:

    CPS has provided details on how much additional funding will be allocated to schools next year, as well as where those additional dollars are coming from. At last month’s board meeting CPS announced that through a combination of re-directing over $50 million in spending on centrally run programs, over $100 million in cuts and efficiencies in administrative and operations spending outside of the classroom, as well as identifying other ways to maximize dollars sent directly to schools, we’ve identified $130 million in additional discretionary funding to give principals and schools communities the flexibility to align resources to drive student achievement.

    These additional funds will give schools increased control over allocating resources to support priorities including; implementing the Common Core State Standards, the CPS Instructional Framework, supporting the Full School Day, staffing, curricular and intervention materials, out of school time services and other needs to support college and career readiness. Given all schools are different, CPS believes that in many cases, principals and school communities — not the Central Office — know how to invest dollars in a way that best drives academic achievement of their unique student body.

    And to address Anonymousteacher’s comment (#2): The suggestion that school budgets forced schools to choose between fixing up buildings and adding instructional positions is misleading. The school-based budgets distributed over the past few weeks are instructional budgets and do not include funds for facilities or operations. The full budget with all details will be released in June. We wanted to give principals an opportunity to begin structuring their school day and year, solely focused on instructional priorities and driving student achievement, and that’s what we’ve done with our school-based budgets.

    (see the post and full thread at

  • In reply to district299reader:

    One school with which I am familiar was awarded a grant for extended day discretionary spending. The amount of the grant when they were told they would receive it was $100,000 and they created an enrichment schedule based on that. Then the actual amount came in at 1/10 the promised amount--$10,000. No more money for enrichment. Back to teaching with two rocks and an empty candlestick.

    These statements all seem to be made with great force and fanfare, but there is no commitment to follow-through. Schools are destabilized by this, made ridiculous and inoperable. It's why so many of us believe that the actual mayoral plan here is to create a massive crisis and then bring in the privateers to save the day and make the big bucks.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Here we go again, with CPS requiring teachers to disclose confidential student and teacher information over to a private company. They pulled this last year so it’s time for round two and every parent should be made aware of this

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Princpals were told that this instructional $$ is 1 time $$ this coming school year only. No money is there for any salary, step, or lane increases. None.

  • Also from's budget thread:

    89. Angie | May 8, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    What is the deal with cutting special ed aides, anyway? I was given some song and dance that it’s all for the best, and all the necessary help will be now provided by special ed teachers, but wouldn’t this actually cost more?

    90. liza | May 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    @89 At my school, we were told a few months ago that we had to start phasing out our paraprofessionals attached to students. We are also required to complete a new form in order to ask for an aide,even if one had already been assigned in a previous IEP, and it must be submitted 20 or 30 days (not quite sure which one offhand) to the SSA. The SSA will then determine whether or not the child requires an aide. The plan, as was described to us by our case manager, was to do away with the aides, but we would get additional SPED teachers. When the new budget came out, we found out that not only were our aides gone, but we had lost two SPED positions. We are not anticipating a drop in enrollment, and SPED teachers are carrying caseloads of 20 to 25 students in some grades. It should be interesting to see what happens next year. (By the way, out of the four requests for aides so far, three were turned down)

  • True at our school too--lost 4 aides, same kids/needs and 1 special ed teacher too. Speech no longer counts when putting homeroom students in each classroom, so general ed teahers will have 30% special ed students and with value added, these students' scores will count against them.

  • And the sped kids will get screwed, too.

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