The Graders Become The Graded

Sunny Thursday morning in Chicago --it's strange and nice to be here.  The day's news includes a WSJ story about states adopting A-F grades for schools (could IL be next?), an update on the plans for the Jones campus, a comparison of utilization maps, lots and lots of flu reports.

REFORM

 

Schools Get Taste of Own Medicine WSJ: n the past two years, at least 10 states, from Arizona to North Carolina, began handing out letter grades to schools and, in some cases, districts.

School Choice Supporters Plan Major Whistle-Stop Rally In Chicago MarketWire: More than 2,300 students, parents, teachers and community leaders will rally at Chicago Union Station on Tuesday, Jan. 29 to celebrate the arrival of the National School Choice Week 'Special.'

TEACHERS

City unions brace for panel’s report on retiree health-care crisis Sun-Times: Union leaders are bracing for an explosive new report expected Friday on Chicago’s $800 million retiree health-care crisis that could set the stage for higher contributions from 35,000 retirees, reduced benefits or a lethal mix of the two.

CLOSINGS

Data Driven-- Data Quality Be Damned! School Tech Connect: Josh Kalov has taken the Apples to Apples school utilization data and turned it into a visually awesome side-by-side comparison. Basically, you're looking at what CPS says about building utilization and comparing it what the open-source data gatherers working with Apples to Apples say, and you can see where these buildings are around the city.

SCHOOLS

Keeping up with the Jones high school plans Reader:  Spokeswoman Becky Carroll says officials are studying the matter. Fioretti says he recently learned that CPS has created an internal panel to study the problem, but it doesn't include the alderman or community residents. Translation: CPS officials are stalling for time while the mayor figures out what to do.

Lincoln Park High School Boosts Security After Fatal Old Town Shooting DNAI:  Principal bans spectators at Thursday night's basketball game, beefs up police presence during dismissal.

Rogers Park Man Backs Elected School Board With MoveOn.org Petition Online DNAI:  Ahmed Khan got 2,500 people to sign a petition for an elected school board for Chicago Public Schools.

School's First Graduating Class Sending Pair to U.S. Air Force Academy DNAI:  Khedoni Tyler and James Hejna have their bags packed for elite military school.

MISC

Five Ways of Looking at the Flu Season Chicago Magazine:  This year's flu season is unusually intense, and literally off the charts—well, Google's Flu Indicator chart at least, which tracks what people are searching for and uses it to predict the severity of the flu season. Hopefully it will remain not very deadly, however.

Indiana bill would require teaching cursive writing WBEZ:  The state Department of Education dropped cursive in 2011, leaving it up to local districts to decide whether or not to teach second and third graders how to connect their letters.

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  • On the topic of the graders getting graded, it appears principals are under more scruntiny then ever before. Our principal Kenneth Hunter at Prosser Career Academy High School is always groussing of how Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale has expressed to many people at CPS of how he believes Hunter is incompetent, shouldn't be anywhere near a school, and a waste of taxpayers' money.

    The pressure must really be on Hunter as there's not a day that goes by where he isn't ranting about the 'people downtown' that have never worked in a school and they think they can evalaute me and say I'm incompetent and unqualified to be a principal.

  • I missed this earlier (from Catalyst): WALGREENS WELLNESS: Weeks before Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson agreed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s request to offer $25 gift cards to encourage parents at 70 Chicago Public Schools to pick up their students’ report cards and participate in parent-teacher conferences, Emanuel’s administration awarded a six-month, $700,000 no-bid contract to Walgreens Health Initiatives to screen government employees who joined a wellness program to avoid a $50 increase in monthly health insurance premiums. City Comptroller Amer Ahmad insisted Wednesday that Walgreens’ decision to provide gift cards at schools with historically-low parental involvement was unrelated to the no-bid contract. (Sun-Times)

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