Closings +/- Openings

Today's Sun Times editorial page registers dismay that CPS is going ahead with more charter openings even as it's aiming to close down large numbers of schools -- a concern that makes emotional and political sense given the mistrust surrounding CPS's ability to oversee/implement the closings and openings successfully at the same time even if it's not objectively necessary. Read more and today's news below.

Adding 13 new charters isn't particularly massive, given CPS's size.  Los Angeles opened nearly 50 this fall.  Chicago's charter sector isn't oversized, compared to other districts, and it has flaws but is not wildly out of control compared to other districts or lagging quality wise compared to many CPS schools.

The real problem here is lack of trust in CPS, and in the plans and commands coming out of City Hall historically and recently.  The public would be more willing to accept the idea of simultaneous closings and openings if CPS were an agency with greater demonstrated ability to develop plans and implement them.

Editorial: Rein in charter schools Sun Times (editorial): We are urging CPS to spread out the closures until the summer of 2014, and to coordinate them with a desperately- needed effort to ensure that relocated students end up at substantially better schools. The push to open 13 new charters next fall only underscores our concerns.

Take on high school dropout crisis Sun-Times (editorial): “Latinos are getting more political power as a group, but economically they are moving certainly into the margins,” Jack Wuest, executive director at the Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, told me.

CTU Holds Education Summit To Push Back Against School Closings, Charters Progress Illinois: The education summit, held at Marshall High School on Chicago's West Side, served as an opportunity to educate the public on the “dire reality of CPS plans,” CTU President Karen Lewis said in a statement.

School-closing plans worry parents: 'How will you keep these children safe?' Sun-Times
Bates-Brown asked a panel of nine independent civic leaders appointed by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to gather community concerns and report back. “I'm concerned for my 4-year-old granddaughter,” Bates-Brown said.

Cite School Closing Concerns Southwest News-Herald: About 80 people attended the Commission on School Utilization meeting held last Friday at Marquette Park, 6743 S. Kedzie Ave.

Fired teacher sues CPS, alleging racial discrimation Sun Times: Another teacher fired from George Washington High School has filed suit against Chicago’s Board of Education, alleging she was targeted for termination because she’s black. Michelle Nelson says she was one of the African-American teachers pushed out after principal Florence Gonzales took over the East Side neighborhood school during the 2007-2008 school year.



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  • Philly school closing recommendations list names 37 schools @psnotebook #5bb

  • That was an exceptionally good editorial by the Sun Times.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Dear Rod, what's your position on the 2013-2014 CPS school actions?

  • Regarding charter schools, there are still waiting lists of parents wanting a chance for better education for their children, why would we stop expanding charters, especially since there is good evidence provide better outcomes without creaming?

    Regarding the school closing process, read the latest blog post from Illinois Citizens for Better Schools:

  • In reply to josh1:

    University Of Chicago Chtr-Donoghue is a level 3 school. Shabazz Chtr-DuSable is a Level 3 school. Perpectives Chtr HS is a Level 3 school. Shabazz Chtr-Sizemore is a Level 3 school. Urban Prep-Englewood is a Level 3 school. Aspira Chtr Haugan is a Level 3 school. CICS-Ellison is a Level 3 school. CICS-Longwood is a Level 3 school, Perspectives Chtr Calumet Tech is a Level 3 school. Learn Chtr-Campbell is a Level 3 school.Galapagos Chtr Campus is a Level 3 school. Aspira Chtr-Ramirez HS is a Level 3 school. UNO Chtr-Tamayo is a Level 3 school. Chicagp Virtual Chtr Campus HS is a Level 3 school. Catalyst Chtr-Howland is a Level 3 school. Ford Chtr HS is a Level 3 school. Epic Chtr HS is a Level 3 school. Shabazz Chtr-Shabazz is a Level 3 school. Level 3 schools are schools on probation. These charter schools do not have enough data or their data was not avaliable to determine their Level: CICS-Loomis, ACT Chtr ES, UNO Chtr-Northside, Noble Street Chtr-Silver HS, Learn Chtr-Hunter Perkins, Urban Prep Chtr-Bronzeville, Youth Connection Charter School, Catalyst Chtr-Maria, Montessori Chtr-Englewood, Noble Street Chtr-Johnson, CICS-Hawkins, Legal Prep Chtr-Academy, UNO Chtr-St Marks, Chicago Quest North, UNO Chtr-51ST-Homan, UNO Chtr-Sandra Cisneros, Noble Street Chtr-Purple, Instituto Acad Chtr, UNO Chtr-Near West, Learn Chtr-So Chicago,

  • Not to question the point of this list of Level 3 charters, but CPS Report Cards are, not surprisingly, of questionable value. My school, for example, is Level 3 despite "far exceeds average" rating on student test score growth and a "silver" school rating on US News and World Report's national high school ratings list. A data entry error in our drop out numbers put us something like 0.15% below the point total necessary for Level 2. Apparently, we cannot get CPS to give us the data necessary to correct the error. Moreover, if you look at the way these ratings are calculated, schools are awarded up to 12 points for absolute student test scores--i.e., favoring schools which simply enroll higher scoring students--compared to 6 points for growth in student test scores. I'm sure there's a reason for that, but there's no reason whatsoever to see the CPS school report card as a measure of how effective a school is in moving students forward, closing achievement gap, etc. I acknowledge your point, RP, about the myth of charter success, but let's not use bogus data to make it. ISBE report cards are much more reliable, though they don't do the Level 1-2-3 labeling.

  • In reply to Ira Abrams:

    The level score is odd, as it obviously correlates most strongly to the socio-economic status of the students. Certainly CPS realizes this problem, but probably just doesn't have the energy to improve the rating system. That would set off another storm of protest (and I'm sure CTU outrage).
    From a parents perspective the scores probably do help when there is a school choice. Perhaps that's the rational for calculating the level each year.

  • FWIW, you know how high schools report or tout their "college placement" rates or numbers? It's be great to see "college completion" info, right? Well, I'd love to see data on "teen pregnancy" in HS students and in recent graduates. I think that's important info too.

  • In reply to josh1:

    Except that isn't th evidence I'm seeing. What I see is, some do better, some don't. This is just like the school system as a whole - some are making the grade, some aren't.
    The heads of the movement in various areas have urged stepping back and doing some evaluation before more expansion. E.g. Noble Street has pretty normalized scores no matter where the school is located - CICS varies widely.
    One area that public schools are correct is in saying they are being evaluated by far different bars than charters. They currently are, no matter they may be a turnaround school with all new staff - the charter gets more leeway simpy because they're a charter.
    I think the charter movement was necessary in that it said to the schools business as usual isn't working for us. Some have listened and are shaping up. Time to praise and expand those efforts rather than say sorry, you've done great but you're a regular public school and we only give charters the leeway to change.

  • ACE Tech H.S. Charter @ 54th & State has about 50 available seats.

  • CTPF deductions are being made from their charter teachers checks. Charter schools are falling behind in CTPF payments.

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