One Last Week

It's the last week before the winter holiday and today's news includes lots about school safety plus of course the usual back and forth over school closings (including on the North Side) plus -- this is news to me -- a CPS plan to create a new, single schedule for CPS next year that CPS and CTU are apparently working on together.  I know, strange words to see. Check it out and get happy or angry about the possible demise of Tracks R and E. 

UTILIZATION DEBATE

Stop misguided school plans Chicago Sun-Times (Jesse Sharkey): Recently, before a Board hearing this week to expand charter schools, Chicago Public Schools CEOBarbara Byrd-Bennett said that they “had several other [charter] schools that were in the hopper and we're going to move forward with our commitment there.

School-closing plans worry parents: 'How will you keep these children safe?' Sun-Times: Latricia Bates-Brown worries that Chicago Public Schools students forced to switch schools could get caught in unfriendly territory.

North Siders to CPS: 'Don't Close Our Schools' PATCH: Certain schools had much more visible outpourings of support than others. Brentano Math and Science Academy, 2723 N. Fairfield Ave., had a large and vocal delegation of supporters in the audience, as did Stockton Elementary School, 4420 N. Beacon St.

NEW SCHEDULE

CPS asks parents, students for guidance on new school calendar Sun Times: The Chicago Public School system is launching an online survey for parents and students as it works with the Chicago Teachers Union to develop a single calendar for its schools in the 2013-2014 school year and do away with its two-track schedule.

SHOOTING AFTERMATH

CPS to review emergency plans with employees Sun Times: Chicago Public Schools will refresh employees on emergency management plans as a result of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 students dead in Newtown, Conn., Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Sunday.

Schools Locally Stepping Up Security In Wake Of Newtown Massacre CBS2: Grief counselors will be on hand at all Chicago Public Schools today. CPS officials say the schools are prepared for all types of emergencies.

Chicago-area schools reach out to parents as students head to class ABC7:
Chicago Public Schools officials said grief counselors would also be on hand Monday in the nation's third largest school district. Officials also reiterated that CPS safety plans were in place with police officers and counselors set to be deployed to ...

 

In U.S. Schools Monday, 'We Are All Going To Be Hypervigilant' AP:  Jessica Kornfeld drove her children to their elementary school this past weekend. She wanted them to feel reassured that it was still a safe place, despite a horrific shooting in New England that killed 20 students very close to their own age.

Parents, Schools Are On Edge WSJ: Parents across the country wrestled with fears for their children's safety as they prepared to return to school this week, while some districts planned to increase security in the aftermath of the massacre.

In Wake of Newtown Shooting, Grappling With What to Tell the Children NYT: Officials and parents spent the weekend anxious about how to talk to students about Friday’s shooting and how best to discourage something like it from happening again.

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  • Renovations At Underutilized Uptown Schools [Stewart, Uplift, Brennemann] Would Cost About $34M http://ow.ly/ganb4

  • CPS IS AGAIN CAUGHT IN A CREDIBILITY GAP AND CREDIBILITY GAP IS A EDUCATED TERM FOR LIE: Chicago school officials and the head of an independent Commission on School Utilization have said enrollment problems are caused by a loss of 145,000 students in the city between 2000 and 2010, an 18% decline. But actual declines in Chicago Public Schools enrollment have not been anywhere near that severe. Overall enrollment in Chicago Public Schools has declined 6% in the last 14 years, a loss of 28,289 students. In that time, CPS has opened more than 120 new schools, many of them charters, shifting enrollment patterns. The percentage of students attending traditional schools has dropped 17%, while the percentage in charter schools (most housed in non-CPS buildings) has increased. CPS school officials say they have not analyzed whether opening new schools has excerbated the number of empty desks in Chicago. The district has said it wants to open at least 17 more new schools (including charter schools) this fall. CPS must hold 3 hearing on ALL proposed School Actions-after the 3/31/13 Announcement. The public will get 15 days' notice BEFORE any hearings can be held, but the Board must still wait 60 days (after 5/31/13) BEFORE making final decisions! CPS must still prepare and disclose DRAFT SCHOOL TRANSITION PLANS for each school on the 3/31/13 "hit list." Those plans MUST at a minimum maintain the social service supports students had been getting at any Receiving School they go to. CPS can't put off doing the Master Plan for as long as Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS (B3) had hoped for 2014. Instead, CPS MUST disclose a draft 10-year Master Plan BY MAY 1st, 2013, and adopt the FINAL PLAN by October 1st, 2013.

  • The CPS statement that is being referenced stated the city lost 145,000 school aged children according to the census data between 2000 and 2010. I stated my own disagreement with CPS using 0 to age 4 year 11 month old children as part of that total on the Catalyst website.

    The difference between the 2000 and 2010 census for individuals aged 5 to 19 years old is 112,300 and should not be approximated to 145,000 school aged children. To see the census data go to http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1714000lk.html click Demographic profile from the 2010 Census then click Census 2000 population, demographic, and housing information General Demographic Characteristics.

    CPS never claimed to have lost 145,000 enrolled students between 2000 and 2010. In a Sun Times report on Dec 4 we can read the following: "Chicago lost approximately 145,000 school-age children between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, CPS said Tuesday, though it gained children in pockets on the Far Northwest Side, edges of the Southwest Side and along the North Side lakefront."

    As we all know there is a big difference between children who live in the city and those who attend CPS. But it does need to be understood that if a child doesn't live in the city that can't go to CPS unless they pay tuition, so the census data is a valid way of looking at prospective students.

    Rod Estvan

  • CPS is bold to put such a bold-faced lie out there. The city lost 200,418 residents between 2000 and 2010. They want us to believe 75% were school aged children. How does a 6.9% decline in total population result in 25% decline in school "seats".

    This calls into question all (mis)use of data by CPS.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I could do a very long and complex response to this post, but I am not sure it is worth the effort. If you look at the census data on the link I provided you can see that there are different levels of decline or lack of decline at all in different age groups within the city.

    The city actually gained residents who were aged 55 to 59 for example. In 2000 there were 116,932 people in that age bracket, but in 2010 there were 144,611 people in that bracket a gain of 23.6% of that bracket.

    I still have a problem with the way CPS presented the decline for school aged children. But the agruement that the decline is impossible given the over all population loss is confused in my opinion.

    Rod Estvan

  • How honorable for you to do Nobel Street Charter-Recently, Nobel Street charter school recruiters were denigrating one of the highest performing schools in the district, Lane Tech, in order to siphon student enrollment away from the school. Instead of better schools, a Pandora’s box has been opened where schools are now cannibalizing one another ...and playing dirty too

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