Archive for September 2012

Another Credit Downgrade

Today's other big news -- besides the revised schedule (below) -- is the credit downgrade that CPS received from the major ratings agencies. This isn't the first time.  It's  just a coincidence that it comes right after the strike ended and CPS came to agreement with the teachers -- the ratings agency describes the raises as only "moderate." Bothered?  Who's to blame -- Daley, Emmanuel, CTU, or Springfield?  What would you do to cut the CPS budget?  Comments are open, as always. ...

They Moved Spring Break!?

Lots of coverage -- and some apparent dismay -- about the changes CPS has made to the 2012-2013 schedule in order to make up days.  Is it really that bad?  Take a look at the news coverage below and let us know.  Then tell us how you would have done it better.  And why it's CTU's fault (j/k!)...

Charter Reform Time

Today's Emily Bazelon piece in Slate about district-charter cooperation in New Haven sounds pretty cool as these things go -- a teacher exchange between the district and a charter network that seems to be a  win-win for both parties.  I'm told that something similar is going on in Denver, with three CMOs helping train district teachers to become district principals.  (Nothing similar that I know of in Chicago, though I'd be happy to be wrong.) But the also article reminds me that that there's a second, behind-the-scenes battle going on over charter schools in addition to the public one going on out in the open between districts and charters.   It may be more important than the one going on out in public.  I'm not sure the good guys are winning, or seem to have much of a chance.  Basically, charter school reformers have lost control of their movement. Nowhere may this be clearer than in Chicago....
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Reform Groups Meet In Minn.

If I wasn't headed to my high school reunion I'd probably be skulking around the annual PIE Network conference being held this year in Minneapolis (and for the first time seeking public attention).  Read below for what they're up to, why I think they're interesting, and what I think they're still missing.  ...

50 Top Blog Posts

Since there are so many new people reading and commenting on the blog these days, I thought I'd go back and see what some of the most popular blog posts have been in the past in terms of readers. I thought they'd be the single-school blog posts -- about Pulaski, Ravenswood, Gunsaulus -- that have been such a focus of energy in terms of comments.  But I was wrong...

Slated To Close

There's not much news but lots of reader commentary about which schools are slated to close as CPS downsizes.  I may be alone but I feel like it shouldn't be that hard to figure out given past lists and current enrollment levels.  If your school has been on the under-enrollment list in the past, and is still under-enrolled, then, well... that's a start. You're allowed a certain amount of concern about your personal well-being, but maybe your time would be better spent educating the kids in front of you and earning back the trust of the parents in your community...
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Board Of Ed Boot Licker

It occurs to me that some of you reading this site lately might think (or have been told by others to think) that I am a reliable union critic who regularly takes City Hall's side -- an Emanuel defender, a Board of Education boot licker. (No one's actually said that, but I like the sound of it.) For those of you who are new to the site, that would be somewhat understandable. But the site's been around a long time, and filled a variety of useful functions over the years.  Read on for my thoughts, then share your own. (Or read on but pretend you didn't, so that nobody thinks you're soft.)...

Rank-And-File Concerns?

I can't imagine the rank and file voting against ratification of the contract that CTU and CPS have come to agreement on, but there are at least a few teachers who apparently aren't super excited about it.  One of them, an anonymous commenter over at Catalyst, writes about voting against the contract and a provision I've never heard of that would allow principals to ding teachers despite them having received satisfactory ratings. ...

More Fixing CPS, Please

What's next for school reform in Chicago, ending legal battles, a new COO... that's about it for education news over the last day or so.  Oh, and the kerfluffle over the Emmanuel ad, which in a pretty awesome display of hyperbole union supporters describe as "saber-rattling."  ...
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Expanded LSNA

This year's Education Nation, an NBC News "summit" in NYC, includes 10 case studies of successful programs. One of them is LSNA's parent mentor program. Being included consists of an article in the Hechinger Report and an appearance on a panel by one of the parent mentors, Patricia Lopez (pictured).  See video and Hechinger Report article below.  Tell us what you think or know about the program, which has expanded to 29 schools (great, but still pretty small).  Is it any different or better than other parent mentor programs?  Would it work as a citywide endeavor?  F/M/K:  LSNA, CeaseFire, Grow Your Own...