Lots of news today: The Board meeting and City Council meetings included lots of criticism of CPS. Byrd-Bennett rejects the notion that she or the closing process are racist. The Sun-Times editorial page says that CPS is closing too many schools. The Tribune editorial page (and INCS' Broy) defend the 19,000 waiting list charter school estimate. Plus a new CPS-related blog, and the spread of vouchers.
School Board Meeting Held in Midst of Protests WTTW: Chicago Public Schools Chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the School Board faced angry parents for the first time since the announcement that 54 schools would close. Paris Schutz has the latest.
Double dose of criticism for CPS officials over proposal to close 54 schools WBEZ: The Chicago Board of Education meeting drew morning protesters and a packed house, while down the street, the City Council education committee held a hearing to discuss school closings. CPS will hold three hearings for each proposed closure and turnaround before the school board votes on closures in May. The community meetings begin on Saturday.
Byrd-Bennett defends CPS closing plan, insulted by racism charges Sun Times: The head of the Chicago Public Schools said Wednesday that accusations of racism about her plan to close 54 school programs insult her “as a woman of color.”
School closings not racist, CPS chief says Tribune: Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett on Wednesday fired back at critics who have called the district's plan to close more than 50 schools racist because most are in predominantly African-American neighborhoods.
Editorial: What a Half-Empty School Really Looks Like Sun Times: Garvey has air-conditioned classrooms, a well-stocked library, a garden, an art room, a computer lab, several small science labs and the kind of discipline and order in the classroom and hallway that tell a visitor this school has its act together.
Neighborhood Walk-Through Reveals Dangers for CPS Students Fox: "It’s the gang rivalry that they have to walk across what parent would want their student….their child to have to come across kids that’s gambling in the middle of the street drinking or selling drugs? We don’t want that,” Henson teacher Latonya Owens says.
Losing Track Catalyst: In 2012, CPS closed only four small elementary schools that altogether enrolled about 500 students. In June, 467 kindergarten through 7th-grade students were at the closed schools. Of those, it’s unclear what happened with 51 children.
Teachers, Parents & Students Protest CPS' Plan To Turnaround Chalmers ... Progress Illinois: Nonetheless, Chalmers has been on academic probation over the last six years and has not made the progress necessary to have that status revoked, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a letter to administrators, faculty, staff and LSC members at
Clara Barton School 'Turnaround' Tag Angers Principal, Parents DNAinfo: The CPS average is 76.4 percent. Still, in a letter to parents, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief executive officer for CPS, said that Barton has been on academic probation for the last six years "and has not made the progress necessary to take it off ...
Behind the CPS Closures Chicago Weekly: As a testament to the value that the CEO places on engagement, a spokesperson said Byrd-Bennett would receive the recorded comments from the meetings. If the promised three meetings per fifty-four schools run as scheduled, for two hours each, that will be 324 hours of feedback.
The Paul Douglas Alliance: Profiles in courage, City Council style Joravsky: As a public service, I will now provide a passage-by-passage translation of its statement to help you, the voter, appreciate what's really going on.
CHARTERS & BUILDINGS
The thirst for charter schools Tribune (editorial): Broy stands by his calculation. "We feel the 19,000 number is strongly supported and is likely a conservative estimate," he says... Demand for great charters — for more and better choices across the public school system — shows no signs of flagging. That's why the Chicago Public Schools system continues to authorize more charters. And why we strongly encourage that growth. No child should have to wait for the opportunity.
Mayor: Public Building Commission will handle CPS construction projects Chicago Sun-Times: Emanuel has ordered the Chicago Public Schools to funnel through the Public Building Commission he chairs all of the construction projects that must be completed by fall for what he calls “welcoming” schools for new students.
Teachers Union Boss Karen Lewis to Campaign at Logan Square Bar DNAI:Leader will appear April 11 at Weegee's Lounge to raise money for May 17 election battle.
Just who are the Chicago public fools? ChicagoNow (new blog): How is it that I recently found myself cheering every word uttered by Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis at a downtown demonstration against the widely publicized closings of 54 Chicago public schools? How did I find myself marching alongside ...
Another voucher victory Tribune (editorial): We imagine the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court were surprised to find themselves ruling on an issue the U.S. Supreme Court essentially had resolved in an Ohio case 11 years ago: No, plaintiffs, you're wrong — publicly funded education vouchers do not unconstitutionally divert public money to religious schools.