Schools Overuse Police

Happy Monday (if there is such a thing). Today's education news includes a look back at last week's school closing meetings, a WBEZ look at the impact of misdemeanor citations on low-income students' life and career prospects, a (wishful) Reader blog post about parents opting out of testing -- not enough middle class kids left in the system for that.  Oh, and Jennifer Cheatham might leave CPS to run Madison, Wisc. schools. What else?  Let us know. (For national education news, go to thisweekineducation.com.)

CLOSINGS, CHOICE, AND CHARTERS

School closing meetings: Week 1 Catalyst: In reality, this is the scenario: A CPS official tells the throngs of people in attendance that public comment will start immediately and that each speaker will only have two minutes to speak. Then, for the next hour, parents, teachers, principals and even some children make impassioned pleas to keep their schools open.

For insiders, community group UNO's charter schools pay Sun-Times: Charter schools are classified as public schools, though they are built and run by private operators outside many of the rules that govern the Chicago Public Schools and other public school systems. The number of charter schools in Chicago is growing.

Current Jones school building saved, but not for neighborhood school use  Gazette Chicago: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced on Jan. 22 a plan to expand Jones College Prep, which already was going to move into a new building next door, by saving the current building. The number of ...

School choice bill deserves fair hearing in Springfield Tribune (editorial): Meeks' bill passed the Senate but fell 12 votes short in the House. He and the bill's House sponsor, Kevin Joyce, have since retired from the General Assembly. No other bill has come close to a floor vote. And many of the schools Meeks identified in his legislation remain failing and overcrowded. Three. Years. Later.

SCHOOL SAFETY AND PREVENTION

How many Chicago juvenile arrests happen at school? WBEZ: Tens of thousands of young people get arrested each year in Chicago, and a lot of those arrests happen on the grounds of Chicago Public Schools. Of course, arrests at school happen all across the country.Panel seeks solutions to school absenteeism Chicago Tribune: Chicago Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is also on board “but we have to hold her feet to the fire,” Chapa LaVia said. The devastating pattern of elementary grade absenteeism disproportionately affects African-Americans and children with disabilities ...

TESTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Teacher Evaluation Deals Face Roadblocks In Districts Nationwide Huffington Post: School districts around the country are facing obstacles as they attempt to finalize new teacher evaluation systems in time for the 2013-14 school year. At least 30 states have passed laws requiring new evaluation systems, but many cities are experiencing pushback from teachers and unions, particularly on requirements to include student test scores as a part of a teacher's rating.

Will the standardized testing boycott spread to Chicago? Chicago Reader (blog)?:

"I think it's important for us to go on record about this because we are likely to start seeing a more active anti-testing movement in Chicago," CTU president Karen Lewis said on the union's blog. The CTU didn't explain what its "campaign" will consist ...

MISC
CPS administrator a finalist to lead Madison, Wis., schools Tribune: Chief of Instruction Jennifer Cheatham helped create a uniform academic calendar and extend the school day is a finalist for the superintendent job in Madison, Wis.
Early-education groups want Illinois lawmakers to reverse cuts WBEZ: The General Assembly trimmed $25 million for this current fiscal year from a fund that provides money for preschool programs. The state also lowered the income requirement parents need to qualify for childcare assistance.

Brandon Marshall's priceless surprise RedEye Chicago (blog): "When you guys were taking a stand," he said to the teachers in reference to last fall's Chicago Teachers Union strike, "I was rooting for you guys." This brought intense cheering from the teachers. "You guys are the celebrities," he said.

Lester and Nancy McKeever's Oglesby Towers legacy on the South Shore Tribune (Dawn Turner Trice):  Nancy McKeever, 76, is a retired Chicago Public Schools teacher who is the board chairman of the ETA Creative Arts Foundation.

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  • I would say that DAN MIHALOPOULOS AND TIM NOVAK's Sun Times story on UNO is huge. Regardless whether or not there are clear ethics violations or not Mayor Emanuel's advisors will be telling him to create real day light between him an UNO.

    Let's recall what Tim's research has caused in the past. It blew open scandal-plagued program in the city of Chicago that involved hiring private trucks to do city work. As all of us who follow Chicago politics relatively closely are aware this story evolved into a litany of cases of bribery.

    It included former City Clerk James Laski, who was charged in January 2006 with taking bribes and obstructing justice after federal agents caught him on tape encouraging witnesses to lie to a grand jury and deny that they had been giving him $500 to $1,000 a week in cash bribes to keep getting business from the Hired Truck program. In March 2006 he pled guilty. City Clerk Walter Kozubowski, was convicted in a ghost payroll scheme for paying a total of $476,000 to six "ghosts" for little or no work over a dozen years. Kozubowski was sentenced to five years in prison. In June 2006, Laski was sentenced to two years in prison.

    The scandal eventually sparked a Federal investigation into hiring practices at Chicago City Hall, with Robert Sorich, Mayor Daley's former patronage chief, facing mail fraud charges for allegedly rigging city hiring to favor people with political connections. On July 5, 2006, Sorich, 43, was convicted on two counts of mail fraud for rigging city jobs and promotions.

    Initially Mayor Daley attempted to defend the hired truck progam, but eventually it was closed down. There is little doubt Mayor Emanuel doesn't want to go down that path and could become leary of UNO.

    Rod Estvan

  • Schools under use police. The amount of crime that is covered up would make your head spin. We need more arrests to keep the 99% of our good kids safe from the predatory few.

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