Third Of Replacements Failing

Today's big national news is probably the Obama school safety announcement, which will include school-related (anti-bullying) elements but hopefully not anything stupid like arming teachers.

Meantime, WBEZ has a big look at school closings and turnarounds over the past dozen years, which doesn't seem tell us much we don't already know but reminds us of the history and the scope of effort -- and it's mixed success (a third of the replacement schools are Level 3).  

The history of school closings in Chicago 2002-12 WBEZ: The performance of the replacement schools (those located in buildings where either closure or turnaround has occured) is also mixed. Fifteen percent of them were rated “Level 1” by CPS, the highest performance level, according to the most recent data (2011-2012). Thirty-two percent were rated "Level 2," another 32 percent were rated “Level 3,” the lowest rating CPS gives, and 20 percent did not have enough data.

Obama guns plan to include trafficking law Politico: The other elements of Obama's proposals will focus on education and mental health, Reed said. Obama will seek to build on existing anti-bullying efforts and provide more federal resources for school counselors and school resources officers.

Neighbors oppose military academy Sun-Times: The alderman champions a military academy in Logan Square, citing terrible options for his young residents. The neighborhood disagrees, defending Ames Middle School as a community hub that ought not be replaced. And as CPS gears up to close some of its schools, basing decisions on how empty or full a school building is, Ames’ fans met Tuesday morning at City Hall to fight another step in a battle they fear may already be a done deal. “I really do not want a military school in our building,” said Alivette Alicea.

Peoria-area school puts off decision on arming administrators Capitol Fax: When I think about this idea, the image of Barney Fife comes to mind. Over-eager and far from well-trained… School board members in a central Illinois town are thinking about arming and training a handful of administrators as auxiliary police officers so they can carry guns on campus. Washington police Chief Jim Kuchenbecker says training Washington [...]

It's Not Too Late to Register Teens for Open After School Matters Classes DNAI: Spring programs in science, sports, technology and the arts still open to CPS students across the city

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • Until someone decides to discuss the taboo subject of the student and parent responsibility in these failing schools, the schools will continue to fail. When kids have no bed at night, no food on the table, no parent helping them do their homework, no clean clothes, etc. how do you expect them to make education a priority? It's always the teacher, administrator or system that is failing.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't think the subject is "taboo". The reality is that CPS can do little to alter that circumstance so why focuss on it. The pragmatic solution, to me, seems to be to concentrate the high-need kids in their own bulidings with the maximum expenditure possible on wrap-around service. The kids from less distressed circumstances would be in the balance of the buildings with a significantly lower per pupil expenditure. I would aslo suggest that teachers in the high-need schools should earn significantly more and have a substantial reduction in students per room given the much more difficult work environment. To some degree this scenario is already playing out except for the sub-optimal expenditure on wrap-around services and too many students in the classes.

  • The vast majority of CPS students need these services. The building where I work is hardly atypical - just shy of 1000 students, 98% of whom qualify for free lunch. Every last precious one of them needs significant services and resources that aren't being provided. And then there are those "little" things like an air conditioner that doesn't work, and heat that wasn't working in my classroom when we got back from winter break... I don't want or need to be paid more than other teachers - just resources and working conditions that would allow a fair shot at success for my students. A little time for actual teaching and learning instead of all this crazy testing and test prep would be nice too.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Actually you are already being paid more than the other teachers which isn't saying that you shouldn't be paid even more (especially mid to end career). I would think the school day and year should be longer for the high-need buldings. Probably 8 - 4:30 with mandatory supervised homework periods and after school type programming built into the day and to compensate for the testing.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    I agree with everything you said. Or at least for the students who would benefit from a longer day. Top students often don't need it, and some struggling students may not tolerate a long day.
    I also think it's fine if CTU teachers don't want to provide more instructional hours for the same pay. What's objectionable is that they stand in the way of other institutions who will fill that obvious need.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Chinese high schools are about 11 to 12 hours - there is a dinner break and then teacher supervised homework/study groups until 7 or 8 in the evening. This would be agood solution for CPS kids from distressed families.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    I think the long commute alone makes sending them to Chinese schools impractical.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    Need I remind you that China has an incredibly corrupt, autocratic, communist government. Add to that the fact that there is outrageously uneven development between rural areas and cities. Is this the model we want to follow?

    CPS Parent- Would you subject your child to a 12 hour school day of drill and kill? Shouldn't we raise the bar? Why can't we give all CPS students the same opportunities and resources as those wonderful Emanuel kids?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    My CPS student is at school from 8 until 3:30 or 4:15 everyday and has about 1 to 3 hours of homework (which we monitor) everyday - which close to the same as the Chinese school day . I would think the Emanuel kids have a similar day and supervision. For kids who are without parental support extending the school day to include homework hours would be a solution. What CPS does with kids from distressed families needs to different than what it does for normally functioning famillies.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    As a "CPS Parent" you know that many of our students can't spend 12 hours at school. They have to care for their siblings, go to work to support the family, commute for an hour or more, take part in activities at church, play sports, head home with friends by 4 (traversing the neighborhood alone or at night is too dangerous), or heaven forbid actually enjoy 4 or 5 hours a day at home playing, eating, spending time with family. Keep in mind, just because a family is poor, has a single parent, or is somehow imperfect does not mean that they should be sequestered in school all day.

    If you think 11 hours of school related work is for "normally functioning families" I'd hate to see what you think is overdoing it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    There is no such thing as "overdoing" school work. You do what it takes to achieve the desired result. My suggestion is for high school by the way.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Need I remind you that Chicago has an incredibly corrupt, autocratic, communist government. This is the model we follow, or maybe China is following ours

  • Not stated is whether 100% of these schools were Level 3 before turnaround. One would think that getting 67% out of that status would be an improvement [or even 47%, to account for those with no data].

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, it would be a tremendous success if 2/3 showed substantial improvement. But, of course, it's not that easy. Even "turn around" school like Fenger apparently don't have an equivalent student body that allows easy comparison between new to old.

  • In reply to jack:

    Getting off of Level 3 is often just a matter of cooking the books. Attendance, freshman on track, and graduation rates can and are manipulated by aggressive principals. Teachers are going to in a worse situation now that principal evals are so tied to these factors. Honest teachers will be punished by self-centered principals.

    In addition, test scores will likely rise if you are allowed to kick out problem children. Look at the enrollments at schools like Harper before and after turnaround. They pushed out the bad kids and kept the good ones.

  • My understanding is that Governor Quinn will be proposing a $400 million cut to K-12 education in his up coming budget presentation to the General Assembly. CPS could easily lose $85 million. There is no money for a 11 hour school day for very poor children in the city, its not going to happen even if CPS hired outside contractors at minimum wage. Let's get real here.

    Rod Estvan

  • According to CPS data, 17 high schools are more than 50 percent underutilized and have hefty price tags for maintenance and repair, including seven with price tags of more than $30 million for upkeep. This information was in a part of the CPS document that I saw on New Year Day, that also had over 110 elementary schools on it under the heading of "School Actions for the 2013-2014 School Year." This was a stapled three page report that mention the Commission on School Utilization on the first page. This was not the CPS document that had 330 CPS schools on it because of underutilization. B3 says she will take action in the event that (1) a high school poses a life/safety threat to students and staff due to its dilapidated state and (2) we cannot justify the costs associated with making it a safe environment (remember Tim Cawley's remark on this). There may also be instances where a school's population is to small that it is unable to provide a robust learning environment for students (small schools on Austin, Dusable & Little Village beware). In both of these rare cases, we reserve the right to move those students into a building that provides a safe environment conducive to learning. What does this mean? This means seven high schools could be phased-out if CPS cannot justify the cost of running them and the high schools with small school populations could be consolidated or co-location. CPS high schools are still at risks for school actions!

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