CPS To Renew Food Vendor

Some of today's big education news is the plan for CPS to renew with Chartwell as food vendor, as well as the planned 100 selective enrollment seats at South Shore ICP.  There's also a CTU press event later this morning and a WBEZ story about some of the amazing architecture found among CPS buildings. Tomorrow is a Board meeting day, don't forget, and also a big CTU gathering day.  Anything else?  Let us know in comments or shoot me an email.  SE

Selective enrollment program to be added at South Shore International College Prep Tribune:  Chicago Public Schools this fall is expected to add 100 new selective enrollment seats at the new South Shore International College Prep, the district said.


CPS renews food vendor contracts Tribune: In a press release Monday, Brizard emphasized the cost savings involved in the new contracts, saying his team was scouring all contracts to identify similar savings. The release on the renewal of Chartwells' contract, which expires June 18, touted $830,000 in savings.

Despite gift-giving, CPS renews vendor contracts AP:  Despite giving prohibited gifts to a Chicago Public Schools official, the district has renewed the contracts of its two largest food vendors.


Chicago teachers to respond to contract proposals WLS:  Members of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) say they plan to air their concerns about contract proposals from the Chicago school board Tuesday.

School closing lawsuit goes to court this week Catalyst:  One of two things is likely to happen this week with the lawsuit filed by local school council members trying to stop school closings and turnarounds: It will be dismissed, yet again, or it will get a hearing in court.


Comer Youth Center gets a spotlight Catalyst:  Education reporting over the weekend was completely eclipsed by coverage of the NATO meeting in Chicago and the concurrent protests, but there was one bit of news involving students: first lady Michelle Obama showing off the Gary Comer Youth Center on the South Side to the spouses of heads of state.

A look at sprawling Chicago Vocational WBEZ: The massive, 72-year-old school is not only the city's second largest high school building but is Chicago's best large-scale example of Art Moderne architecture. The school is slated to re-open this fall as one of the city's five STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) academies.

Obama to speak at Joplin high school graduation WBEZ: JOPLIN, Mo.— President Barack Obama will speak at the commencement ceremony Monday for graduating seniors whose town was devastated by deadly tornadoes.Obama's remarks in Joplin, Mo. fall on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the tornado that killed 161 people.

State budget proposal details trickle out Chicago Daily Herald: Illinois Senate Democrats outlined some broad state spending goals Friday that would keep school funding intact and pay some of the state’s overdue bills, but with just two weeks until the budget deadline, the biggest questions about how to cut health care for the poor and teachers’ pensions remain unanswered.

School History CPL Blog:  The CPS had so many great performances, historic firsts, and school records all over the board at sectionals last Thursday and Friday. There are so many to mention, but I'll talk about just two.


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  • From IL Stand: If the union strikes, 400,000 kids - including my rising 2nd grader - will be shut out of their classrooms in the fall. Students could miss out on days, even weeks of valuable instruction time. Families, scrambling to find emergency arrangements for their children could miss out on work - and income.I'm headed to the Board of Education meeting with a coalition of parents to demand that both sides get back to the table. But we need all the support we can get. Will you sign our petition?


  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Don't worry STAND with the longer day and longer calendar year you pushed for you will still be getting more school time next year, not a better day but more time.

    I'm not a teacher but a CPS parent, will a strike make my life difficult? Yes. Do I want to start the school year with a strike? No. Will I lose income if I have to stay home or get babysitters? Yes. But so will the teachers.

    I really can't blame teachers for using the only tactic they have left after SB7. I want the people who spend the most time with my children to be fairly treated and compensated. I want them to feel good about their job and not feel under-appreciated because my children's education will benefit from having a motivated teacher.

    By all means, keep negotiating but if you have to strike, go for it!

  • In reply to CPS mom:

    I am a CPS Mom and I would be pissed off if the teachers strike. I want the good teachers to be motivated and want the bad teachers out and away from my kids. The real problem is the CTU and the fact that they treat all teachers as the worst teacher in the system. It brings down all the good teachers. Regardless if SB7 existed or not, that is the core of the problem and the real reason that teachers feel demoralized and the system is a mess.

    Changing the CTU widget maker mentality is up to the good teachers to fight and change in their own union. Unless the good teachers stand up for themselves, nothing will change. SB7 came to life because there is no good way to make changes and everything that is tried and proposed has to be done with the worst teachers in mind. Which amounts to no change.

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    In reply to district299reader:

    We already did this. We took back our own union from the corruption and lack of interest in kids and community. And what happened? SB7.

    The union does not have the kind of power you imply. The problems in the system don't lie with "bad teachers" but broken systems that leave many students without teachers for large chunks of the year, and a lack of structures and resources to support effective teaching. I've come out of pocket for $9,000 this year, and that's not unusual. Furthermore, we now have to overtest and focus on test prep.

    I spent twice the hours of most professional workers so that I could both support students directly, and take back our union. I have supported other teachers to improve and been a teacher, parent, social worker, doctor, lawyer and advocate for my students. I have seen them reach the highest stage in the land--recognized by President Obama, the governor, and the district on multiple occasions. All I'm asking for is a little support rather than more roadblocks to instruction and patronage contracts.

    These are all reasons that the balance of power needs to shift. While these are not strikeable issues, these are all reasons I will support a strike unless CPS and the city leadership change their ways. Our door is always open, but if all we get is disrespect and neglect of the children we devote our lives too, I believe that we must use all means at our disposal to ensure that our students get what they need.

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    In reply to district299reader:

    CPS has some bad teachers - fact. Right now it is too hard to get rid of bad teachers - fact. But how do you create a system that gets rid of bad teachers while keeping the rights of the good teachers? Did SB7 do that - no way. It is the first major battle in farming our education system out to the cheapest bidder. I say pay more...expect more. Parents who send their children to private schools - Rahm sends his kids to University of Chicago Lab school who's tuition is over $23,000 a year! http://www.ucls.uchicago.edu/admission/tuition/index.aspx

    I bet Rham, and parents like him,EXPECT ALOT out of these institutions (and teachers.) So we should be willing to pay more to get better education (and educators.)

    But you know what the biggest and most cost effective solution is - PARENTS - most (not all) CPS parents don't care. They send their children to school unfed, unprepared, no homework done, making excuses for their horrible behavior. They ant the longer day used to "get their homework done" - not more education but more of the public doing their own parenting.

    So here's the plan Chicago. Go ahead and lenghten the day - fine. But you HAVE to pay more - a lot more - to get the kind of education that our mayor's own kids are getting. And parents you have to participate too - you have to make sure your children are taking their education seriously. Make sure they do their homework done and study (I know...such a horribly old fashioned idea.)

    With a better paycheck and REAL support from administrators and parents alike - GOOD CPS teachers will join you DEMANDING that the bad teachers get out.

  • In reply to M Wesoloskie:

    Since the enactment of the residency requirement the quality of teachers and administrators has been poor. I have been sitting in on teacher interviews and folks, it is pitiful, not a standout in the group...very mediocre.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    High school or elementary? What subjects did you interview for?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Just curious, but what positions have you been trying to fill? I've applied for a number of CPS jobs and have gotten surprisingly few interviews, especially considering my excellent resume and fantastic references. Could it be that I have too much experience (even though a lot of it has been in private schools, so I'm not really that expensive)? My less than stellar score on the stupid TeacherFit test ( I definitely leaned my lesson on why someone should LIE like crazy when taking that one)? Considering that most (experienced) teachers would probably agree that it takes years and years ( some people I've talked to say 7-10) in the classroom before you really know how to teach, why would CPS ( I know this really a dumb question, because we all really know why...) keep trying to get rid of the experienced they have and turn away those trying to get in?

  • In reply to anonymous:

    I would like to tell anonymous looking for a job to keep your chin up, but I can't. I was displaced last year due to a drop in enrollment. Like you, great references and resume. I have since then applied for 68 positions either through the online application or E bulletin and how many interview have I gotten? Zero. It is hard to compete when one is not even granted an interview. Unlike you, I have 11 years in they system and that probably makes me too expensive. I also did not have to go through the ordeal of "teacher fit". I hope all the teachers who are about to lose their jobs through the turnaround process don't believe their qualifications and great evaluations are enough. It is still the friends and family program, but with the added element that one must be young and new to teaching.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    There are CPS teachers who live outside of the city and they are very poor teachers. It's not where you live, it is how you teach. Residency is here to stay.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    How does not compensating teachers for working longer hours or not giving raises get rid of the bad teachers? How do you motivate good teachers this way? If someone at your job said, next year we need you to work longer hours, more days a year for no additional money and we will maybe give you a raise if your co-workers perform better on their jobs, how would you feel? Highly motivated?

    Do I want bad teachers in schools? No. Do I want a pseudo- advocacy group making education policy? No way!

  • In reply to district299reader:

    How dumb to blame CTU. Get back on your meds since everyone knows that the Mayor's CEO and the Millionaires Club run CPS. They follow unsound no research educational policies. I guess they don't let you out much.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Stand has sold out grassroots folks to shilling for the Millionaires Club

    From Letter.
    As parents, teachers, and community members, we are Massachusetts grassroots activists for education. We read bills, testify at hearings, write letters to the editor, pore over budgets, speak at town meetings, make phone calls, and hold fundraisers. Many of us have done so for years.

    It was as part of this work and with great hope that we joined Stand for Children. And—initially—Stand helped us do great work. We cast a critical eye on education bills at the State House and testified as needed. We turned back ballot initiatives that would have gutted education funding. We closely watched local budgets to keep dollars close to classrooms. We put our voices, time, money, and reputations into building Stand for Children. Because we were united and we spoke from our experience, we were heard.

    Along the way, we learned a great deal about the legislative process, education funding, and policy. We learned to research our positions, present them, and back them up.

    But in 2009, while we struggled to give voice to the needs of our schools, Stand’s staff was turning away from our concerns, announcing that it expected its members to forgo community advocacy in favor of a new, special agenda. This agenda, emerging seemingly out of nowhere, touted more charter schools, more testing, and punishing teachers and schools for low student scores.

    None of these initiatives arose from the needs of our communities. Indeed, we understood well their dangers. Yet all of them became the positions of Stand for Children. Policy proposals no longer came from the local level. They were dictated from the top.

    What accounted for this shift? We were mystified at first. But we’ve since learned that Stand abandoned its own local members – us – to follow the lure of millions of dollars from Bain Capital, the Walton Foundation, Bill Gates, and others who had an agenda in conflict with our previous efforts.

    The ballot initiative brought forward by Stand for Children is just the most recent example.

    Stand was one group of many at the table when the new Massachusetts educator evaluation system was hammered out over several months last spring. Unions, principals, state officials, parents—all contributed. But when the new regulations were finally announced, one group walked away—Stand for Children.

    Immediately, Stand filed for a ballot initiative and used some of their new corporate money to hire people to collect the signatures. It cost them $3 a signature, but they have plenty more. They are following the master plan revealed in Colorado by their national CEO, Jonah Edelman, a month before it was announced in Massachusetts.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Smooth. That blurb from the Stand petition sounds professionally written.

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    Stand for Children were the top organization in pushing the current undemocratic law which destabilizes the labor relationship and increases the likelihood educators desiring to strike (even though it makes the process more difficult).

    There hasn't been a strike in 25 years. If any single organization has done the most to catalyze a strike this time around, it's Stand for Children.

    Furthermore, if Stand for Children were actually some kind of parent organization, that would be more their right (wise or unwise). However, currently Stand is the most cynical of the cynical astroturf organizations. Lobbyists and spin artists paid by millionaires and billionaires to place their needs ahead of the needs of the students of the state and the educators who devote our lives to teach the youth.

    That it came out of what was once a grassroots organizer with a national treasure of a founder makes it that much worse:

  • It is not difficult to get rid of bad teachers in CPS and the CTU can do nothing to prevent it. This is an administrative problem not a Union problem.

    CTU members are protected by procedures mutually agreed upon by the Union and the Board. But those procedures are the only protections.

    As long as principals follow the very simple rules then a teacher can be dismissed for unsatisfactory performance.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    It is CPS and their principals that hire teachers. Then they have four years to sort out the "bad" ones before the state offers tenure rights.

    Since the Union has no part in hiring, why should they be responsible for firing "bad" teachers? I've never understood this argument that the Union protects "bad" teachers. CPS Principals who don't do their jobs protect "bad" teachers.

  • Headache299
    Not only can the CTU NOT protect bad teachers, less reported, they cannot protect the great ones!

  • Rahm permits new contracts with a company that offered bribes to CPS administrators. What example is that! Thanks Rahm, you show your *ss everyday. Another example to add to the Rahm, not fit to run CPS and Chicago list!

  • Bribes are just the tip of the berg.
    CPS and another $100 million in dirty deals.


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