Countdown To Xmas

What a strange juxtaposition of events we're having these last  two weeks before the holiday break. On Friday, CPS announced it was recommending six additional homegrown charter and district schools to open next year -- including Disney II #2 (hearing on Thurdsday!) On Saturday, CPS held an expo to promote charter schools, some of which aren't high performing, and CTU held an event to protest closings (hearing today and Friday!). 


Charter schools with failing grades still featured at quality schools fair WBEZ: A WBEZ analysis of the more than 100 new schools featured at the expo this year shows 34 percent of them are rated Level 3 by the district, the lowest grade given.


CPS officials make charter recommendations Catalyst: CPS will hold a single hearing on these plans at 5 p.m. on Dec. 13 at school district headquarters, 125 S. Clark St. As they usually do, the Board of Education will be asked to approve the new charter and contract schools at the December meeting without knowing the school’s location.

CPS proposes six new schools, two expansions WBEZ:  Four are new charter schools: Chicago Collegiate, Foundations College Prep, The Orange School and Intrinsic Schools. One is a new high school expanding out of Disney II, a popular magnet school on the city's North West side, and another, Camelot, will serve alternative students.

CPS plans 4 more charters: Chicago Public Schools said Friday it plans to add four more charter schools to the nine charters previously approved for the coming year, which quickly became fuel for critics of the district's plans to close many neighborhood schools. "It simply ...


Closing and consolidating CPS schools Tribune (Frank Clark): It's true that closing underutilized schools won't make a huge dent in a deficit that large. According to a study on school closings done by the Pew Charitable Trusts, districts usually realize less than $1 million in annual savings for each closed school in the short term.

Gallery: Parents, teachers and activists argue against school closings Catalyst: The announcement that CPS leaders are recommending the Board of Education at their December meeting approve five new charter schools fueled a heated Commission on School Utilization hearing Friday night.

Teachers Union Decries Possible School Closures at Education Summit  DNAinfo: Education advocates blasted Chicago Public SchoolsSaturday, saying the department is targeting "apartheid schools" as it mulls closing underutilized buildings, many of which are in African-American areas. About 200 parents ...


Educators on the Challenge of Teaching At-Risk Kids WTTW: We talk with the educators who try to keep kids from falling off the grid, one student and one day at a time.

Big Picture: Ways to Unravel Chicago’s High School Dropout Epidemic WTTW: Communities across Chicago are concerned with the city’s alarming high school dropout rate. But what would a comprehensive, district-wide dropout prevention campaign actually look like? And is CPS on the right path to unraveling this problem? We evaluate the big picture with University of Chicago researcher Elaine Allensworth and alternative schools leader Jack Wuest.

Chicago teachers victory on incorporating test scores into evaluation may help students NWTimes: With their collective bargaining rights, the Chicago Teachers Union negotiated an evaluation system that relies less on standardized testing, which takes some stress off teachers and students, said Jackson Potter, a spokesman for the union.




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  • Parents Attend New Schools Expo - WGN

  • CPS says dual-credit program will be extended to 17 high schools, up from just six now @GregHinz

  • At schools, an upsurge in mental health crises

    Calls to the state’s mental health crisis hotline for children have soared in recent years. The increase has been fueled largely by schools, now often the first line of defense when a child exhibits severe mental health problems. Experts point to cuts in community mental health services and more children experiencing the after-effects of violence and trauma as factors prompting the increase in hotline calls.

    By: Sarah Karp / December 10, 2012

    Maria Lupe supervises a team at Mount Sinai Hospital that assesses mental health crises involving children. Lupe’s team works on the West Side, and Lupe says that the team now sees more cases of severe crises involving younger children.

    Emotional emergency

    Driven largely by an increase in calls from schools, the number of calls to the state’s mental health crisis hotline for children has soared by 37 percent over the past five years to nearly 42,000 calls in 2011—about 115 calls per day... (more at link)

  • Not only did teens and young adults without high school diplomas experience steeper declines in their employment than any other age group during the recent recession, they failed to capture any substantive share in job growth during the recovery and many were totally withdrawn from the workforce by the time they reach their late 30s.

    These are the findings of a new report being released Monday by the Alternative Schools Network, exposing a grim picture of the economic prospects faced by young people in Illinois for the last 10 years. On Monday, the advocacy organization is holding a meeting with state lawmakers to discuss the findings.

    One issue that Alternative Schools Network Executive Director Jack Wuest wants to discuss is why Chicago Public Schools officials haven’t moved quicker to open up new charter schools to serve dropouts who want to re-enroll in school. In 2009, when CPS won the right to expand the number of charter schools, the state legislature set aside five charters that could open up to six small campuses to re-enroll dropouts. Each of these alternative schools would serve about 160 students... (more)

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    what did Rahm get Chicago for x-mas?
    Michigan Avenue Mob Violence 8 pm December 8, 2012

  • Rod Estvan comments at Catalyst: "...Every year the Alternative Schools Network reminds the public of how bad dropouts have it, and it's true. But every year Youth Connections Charter High School is declared an academic failure and so the song continues. Isn't time for CPS to figure out what its standard of success for its alternative charter schools for dropouts is because it simply can't be the same as for all other high schools?"

  • School officials talk about 145K fewer kids in the city; actual enrollment decline is 28K, says @WBEZeducation

  • Frustrated Parents Shop for New Schools - Chicago

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