Chicago Public Schools closing list dwindles to 129

image Chicago Public Schools ClosingToday's news includes word that 129 CPS schools are still possible closures, plus a surge of City Council interest in a charter moratorium.

There's a Sun Times article on the new, tougher ISATs, though no one here seems very interested in that.  Oh, and there's a Lakeview teacher who moonlights as an MMA (mixed martial arts) cage fighter -- just like in that awful-looking movie. What else?

Over all, however, I feel like the closings are taking so much time and attention that this year more than ever there's little discussion of what's really going on in schools.  I understand the concern -- jobs, kids, communities, etc.  But it's like the year that didn't happen.  Everyone's just got his or her head down.

Is there anything else interesting or notable going on across the city -- new approaches, materials, configurations?  I'd love to know.

Of course, as the list gets smaller the number of folks who are personally concerned gets smaller, too -- that's why CTU President Karen Lewis put out that message the other day (which Catalyst picked up after I posted it).

CLOSING LIST

Chicago Public Schools trims list of schools that might be closed Tribune: The area with the most schools on the list is a CPS network (the district groups its schools in 14 networks) that runs roughly from Madison Street south to 71st Street and from the lake to State Street. The preliminary list includes 24 schools in that area. [See list and map here]

129 CPS schools at risk of closing; West Side parents vow to fight Sun Times: The West Side took it on the chin Wednesday in the list of 129 Chicago Public Schools at risk of closing — but residents who packed a CPS hearing vowed not to give up the fight.

More than 20 percent of city public schools on list for potential closure WBEZ: Of the 681 Chicago Public Schools, 129 are still eligible for closure at the end of the academic year. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett made the announcement just hours before another round of community meetings began and gave no indication how many schools will ultimately be shuttered. [see list and map here]

School closing list pared down The communities that stand to be hardest hit are the same neighborhoods that have experienced a lot of closings previously. Englewood has 19 schools still on the list, Grand Boulevard has 15 and the Far South Side and West Humboldt Park each have 14.

Facing Massive Deficit, Chicago To Consider Closing 129 Schools CBS2 Chicago: Chicago Public Schools administrators are considering closing more than 100 schools as the system faces declining enrollment and huge budget deficits. Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said on Wednesday that 129 schools are now ...

Local Schools Safe from CPS Closure Patch.com: Those schools have a March 31 deadline to change the minds of CPS decision-makers. “We are going to take these 129 and continue to sift through these schools,” CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett told the Chicago Tribune. About 43,000 attend the schools ...

Editorial: CPS should keep listening on school closures Chicago Sun-Times: No one can fairly accuse Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett of turning a deaf ear to Chicago public school families. Byrd-Bennett is listening intently. Chicago is duty bound to close scores of severely under-enrolled schools, having put off the ...

Seven Pershing Network Schools on CPS List for Potential Closings DNAI: Controversial list released by school district includes seven Southwest Side elementary schools.

Gale, Field Elementary Schools Safe From Closing DNAI: A pared down list of 129 schools facing closure did not include Gale and Field Elementary Schools.

CHARTER MORATORIUM

Aldermen call for moratorium on opening new charter schools Chicago Sun-Times: 
Hours before Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara-Byrd Bennett narrowed the list of potential school closings, Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) introduced a resolution at Wednesday's City Council meeting urging CPS to call a halt to the charter school expansion ...

Some aldermen want charter school moratorium Chicago Tribune: O'Shea represents the 19th Ward, a Southwest Side union stronghold and home to manyChicago Public Schools teachers. But he said the resolution -- which carries no legislative authority beyond urging the city to take a stance -- came about because of ...

ISATS

Parents see plusses, minuses in tougher test standards Sun Times: Tougher standards for Illinois state tests raise concern for some parents. Becky Malone says the tests are sending the wrong message. “It’s too much emphasis on these standardization tests, and we’re getting away from interdisciplinary learning and a well-rounded education,” said Malone, whose second- and fourth-graders attend Mount Greenwood Elementary School. But Sarah Liebman, with two children at Oscar Mayer Magnet School, says holding kids to a higher standard will be a positive move in the long run.

Parents in for shock on tougher standardized tests for kids Sun Times: When the state of Illinois adjusted last year’s standardized tests to this year’s tougher standards in an attempt to prepare parents for sticker shock, the scores showed a stark drop. Last year, 82 percent of grade school students were found to have met or exceeded state standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. But when adjusted to the new tougher standards, going into effect on the tests students will take in March, only 60 percent made the mark.

MISC

Community leaders debate how to stop 'school-to-prison pipeline' Medill Reports:  Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the district's CEO, was scheduled to participate in the discussion but was unable to attend. Annette Gurley, who oversees instruction for CPS, went in her place. “[Lomax] continued to ask the question about the police and was that ...

Former CPS employee gets 2 years’ probation for forging checks Sun Times: A former sports administrator for the Chicago Public Schools was sentenced to two years probation Wednesday after he admitted he forged checks, purchased items and then returned them so he could pocket the cash to buy champagne, flowers, chocolate, condoms and a king-size mattress.

Lake View High School English Teacher Moonlights as MMA Fighter DNAI: Vaughn Camacho has a passion for shaping minds — and pummeling opponents.

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  • CPS schools not on the hit list of 129 schools, will you now become a receiving school and then be on next year's list?

  • With the street theater resulting from this (like at the meeting at Truman College, which was not near the epicenter of the proposed closings, which probably was the reason it was held at Truman College and not, say, Kennedy King), of course closings are going to suck the air out of the media.

    For that matter, I'm confused that there are not any high schools in the CPS system,, only academies. I didn't know where Obama's speech was going to be until they said 63rd and Stony Island. Then, it dawned on me "Hyde Park High School."

    But, RP, Emanuel said that these would be the only closings for the next 5 years. Believe him?

  • I really have to say that teaching in this type of work environment is ridiculous. I work at one of the CPS high schools that is on the original list. I am so tired of BBB, putting out her "list" and putting her little caveats on the bottom about how even though you are off the closing list, you can still have school action taken against you. We have gone from zero network people in our building, to seeing them everyday. They removed our principal, after only a year and a half, I guess she had too much integrity and wouldn't order us to pass kids just to skew our metrics. We are getting Power Point after Power Point thrown at us, with really meaningless and flawed data that basically just say my school's metrics suck, hello we know that but we really are trying to fix things. Maybe if you hadn't forced IDS down our throats, our scores would have stayed up, but instead they dropped like a rock. I wish they would just tell us, are we being turned around, or not, this living in a state of constant pressure is burning us all out.

    I am tired of students and parents asking me if we are closing, or if I am going to lose my job. In a healthy learning environment this shouldn't be happening. The teenagers at my school have enough to worry about; they shouldn't have to worry if they are going to lose their teachers next year. We have already had a bunch of parents transfer students to other schools, and yes most of them were charters. The only "good news" is that our enrollment numbers didn't suffer because the charters just "kicked out" a bunch of students that they couldn't handle and they came to us.

    I am beginning to think we are going to lose a whole generation of children, due to a political game. How come we never see a slide that tells us how Chicago schools have performed since there has been mayoral control vs before mayoral control?

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