Welcome back! Today's news includes a WBEZ tour of a couple of "half-empty" schools, a semi-amusing rant from the Reader's Ben Joravsky about kindergartners being asked about main characters (and teachers grading their own tests).  Plus some other tidbits.

CLOSINGS

WBEZ tours 'half-empty' schools WBEZ: For grades first, second and third, Drake gets just two teachers, so Warner had to decide whether to buy another teacher with her own funds, or combine grades in one classroom. This year, Drake has two classrooms with mixed grades. The 2nd and 3rd grade room has 32 kids and it’s packed—you can tell when you walk in.

How's Everyone Doing? Tim Furman: Too busy to blog at the moment, but I'm expecting some excellent footage from colleagues tomorrow---- neighborhood groups are starting to blow serious holes in the "underutilized" narrative. If you follow the CPS guidelines, you get punished for having specialized rooms--- art labs, science labs, pull-out rooms--- in other words, the kind of rooms that suburbanites expect their children to have access to. Evidently poor people are expected to be happy with schools crammed with nothing but overcrowded math and reading classrooms.

CTU and Allies Fan Out at Seven Locations to Fight School Closings Substance: “While a few people did not open their doors, others welcomed the canvassers inside their homes and spoke of their children and grandchildren attending Lewis. They emphatically said they did not want to see the school closed.”

TESTING

Testing in Kindergarten:  Whatever Happened to Story Time? Reader: Since these are five- and six-year-olds who can't read, that means one-on-one testing. So while the other 29 kids are occupied with busy work, the teacher calls a child to her desk to answer questions: What's the story's setting? Who's the main character?  Here's the twist. All teachers record the answers. Think about this, folks: teachers get to grade their own accountability tests.

TEACHERS

Brown: Firing of teacher a lesson in free speech limits Sun Times: It will be a terrible shame if the best day of Elizabeth Parsons’ fledgling teaching career also turns out to have been her last. But barring some divine intervention from the powers that be, that’s where it stands. Last April, Parsons taught such an inspiring lesson on free speech to her class at George Washington Elementary that it got her fired when she allowed the students to stage an impromptu protest march around the school.

Classes to resume in Grayslake after tentative teachers pact Sun Times: After a three-day walkout by Grayslake teachers, students report back to class Tuesday after the teachers’ union reached a tentative agreement with Community Consolidated School District 46.

SCHOOLS

Tony Blair to speak at Elgin school Sun Times: For a school with less than 1,500 students, Judson University attracts some big-name speakers. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will speak this spring at Judson’s third-annual World Leaders Forum, following former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who spoke last year, and former President George W. Bush, who spoke at the inaugural forum in 2011.

For Second Time, Kilmer Elementary Principal Suspended DNAI: Parents and teachers were alerted Friday that the principal had been removed from his position.

School start date Tribune:  am a Chicago Public Schools parent. This past Friday afternoon I received an email from CPS CEO Barbara-Byrd Bennett informing CPS families of the proposed "single-track" calendar for the 2013-2014 school year.

LGBT youth, advocates oppose more cops in Chicago public schools  Phoenix: Parents and students gathered at Chicago Public Schools headquarters Monday to demand that the school system use proposed federal funding as part of President Barack Obama's plan to reduce gun violence for counselors instead of adding armed police ...

 

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  • from CTU: CPS has informed us that there is an error in the PeopleSoft reporting of deferred pay for members working on the Track E calendar. Some members see a negative balance in their deferred pay. This is an error. CPS says they are in the process of correcting their error and that paychecks will be correct by the time they are issued this Friday. We will ensure they are. Please contact us regarding this matter only if there is an error on your final paycheck, issued this Friday.

  • There are nearly as many overcrowded schools. If it is all about the kids where then is the overcrowded list?

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