Weekend Open Thread

Want to talk about the new schools expo, or the CTU thing, or something entirely different?  This is the place to get it off your chest.  WBEZ's Linda Lutton has a pretty vivid description of how hard CPS and charter advocates are pushing the new schools EXPO despite the fact that a third of the schools being features are Level 3 (failing) and gets Phyllis Lockett to say she actually disagrees with the CPS school rating system.   (See, I told you she was up to somethin.) That's a picture of Senn High, circa 1957 -- my dad's alma mater -- I think I got from CPSobsessed.




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  • oh, and what about karen lewis as a mayoral candidate?

  • I was shocked (and DELIGHTED) to hear Linda Lutton lead her New School Expo story with the actual elephant in the room: all these schools are not all that.

    What the heck is a "quality seat" anyway? What determines that?

  • CPS proposes opening four new charter schools in addition to nine previously approved - chicagotribune.com http://ow.ly/fWKQM

  • New charters CPS seeks approval for include Chicago Collegiate, Foundations Academy, Intrinsic, and Orange http://ow.ly/fWKTq

  • “With the current CPS formula, a school with 14 homerooms can have every homeroom in use with 24 students in 13 of homerooms, 1 room with 21 students and still be labeled as an "underutilized" school. The same school could also have 35 students in every homeroom and not be considered overcrowded.”


  • CPS Leader Talks School Closures, Consolidation - Bucktown-Wicker Park, IL Patch http://ow.ly/fWY3h

  • from CTU -- questions about proposing more charters while having too many schools

    Opening New Charters Only Exacerbates the so-called “Utilization Crisis” and Questions Chicago Public Schools’ Real Motive

    CHICAGO - The Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) concerns over space utilization has been a big issue in recent weeks, especially given the district’s creation of its own utilization commission, as well the unprecedented change to state law that extended the deadline for closings and consolidations until March 31, 2013. Utilization is not a “natural” phenomenon. School utilization is a district decision, and in this case, a crisis created by CPS.

    According to Chicago Teachers Union research, CPS has added capacity for more than 50,000 students over the last 10 years. Charter school proliferation drove the vast majority of this increase, and most of the so-called underutilized schools are within blocks of a charter school. Today, the district announced plans to open four new charter operations, which further undermines their argument that there just aren’t enough students to fill the seats in more than 100 neighborhood schools.

    CPS continues to pour resources into a counterproductive model for school reform. At the same time they are planning to close neighborhood schools for under-utilization they continue to open new charter operations which is a glaring contradiction. The proliferation of charter operations and the destruction of neighborhood schools have not helped in the creation of quality schools for all students.

    CTU believes the under-utilization crisis was created by the district to expedite its school privatization schemes and aid in the further destruction of neighborhood schools. Here are some basic facts about CPS’ under-utilization assertion:

    CPS claims that the city has 145,000 fewer school aged children than it did in 2000, but the more relevant figure is student enrollment.
    In 2000, CPS had about 435,000 students.
    In 2012, CPS has 403,461, or a decline of 31,539.
    In other words, the declining student numbers combined with CPS’s expansion adds up to about 80,000 in “underutilization,” still about 20,000 less than the district’s claim of 100,000 “excess seats.”

    CPS’s utilization formula dramatically overstates the problem.
    The CPS formula is not based in national best practices for school space utilization. CPS has a one-size-fits-all formula for a variety of different educational contexts, such as different space needs for different educational programs and different space needs for diverse learners (e.g. students with mobility devices).
    The formula is based on large class sizes. CPS identifies 30 students per class as ideal. A school is considered underutilized if it has an average of less than 24 students per classroom and overcrowded only if the school averages more than 36 students per class.[1]
    The result is that far more schools are considered underutilized than with a fair and flexible formula.
    i. Research with an alternative formula reduced the overall underutilization from 50% of schools to 38% of schools.
    ii. The same research shows that the number of schools considered half-empty drops from 20% to 8%.
    iii. The total number of “empty seats” drops from 19% to 2.7%
    A reduction in CPS class sizes to levels of surrounding suburbs or elite private schools like the University of Chicago Lab School would essentially eliminate system-wide underutilization. These schools have class sizes in the upper-teens or low-20s.

    Neither underutilization nor school actions are evenly distributed across the city.
    The vast majority of underutilized schools are located in predominately African American neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city. These neighborhoods have borne the brunt of school actions over the last 10 years.
    Of the 42,000 students directly affected by CPS school actions, 88 percent have been African American.

    For every new charter approved by the Board of Education only exacerbates the so-called utilization crisis, calling into question CPS’ real motive of “right sizing” the district if their purported intent is to save revenue in buildings that are not full.

  • What is CPS doing? We lost 181,000 Black folks left the city in the past 10 years. Using that number it should be easy to make a case for closing schools (despite the unknown utilization criteria). With CPS now proposing more charters, and the lack of a clear process of school closures for "utilization reasons" they again prove they cannot be trusted.

    Please CPS, get a clue, be honest, close schools that need closing and get off that crack called charter schools. Otherwise, you're making it too easy for Karen Lewis and CTU to roll you. Again.

  • In reply to ChiKev:

    With all the complaining I heard last week about the size of the take-home pay increase I'm pretty sure CPS/taxpayers rolled the CTU. Longer day and year, 3% & 2% increases, What was the strike about again?

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