Concept Charter Zoning Agenda

Concept Charter Zoning Agenda

The Payton-Brooks kerfluffle has been resolved (check out CPS Chatter's sharp commentary on the situation), the closings/hearings are continuing as scheduled, Golden Apple did its thing, and Concept Charter School is back on the zoning meeting agenda from which it was previously missing.

CLOSINGS

Schools pinned against each other AustinTalks: Graham said this wouldn't be the case if CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett had kept her promise. “Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she would not disturb schools that were making progress,” said Graham. All three schools have improved, she said. A sea of purple ...

Duprey Elementary School's Fight to Stay Open WTTW: It’s the last week of public hearings on school closures. We follow Ana Roque de Duprey Elementary School’s fight to stay off the closure list on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm. Check back here later to read an article.

Prison costs in Humboldt Park double spending on schools Catalyst: Ryerson is one of 54 elementary schools across the city that is slated to close next fall. But in many of the consolidated schools, the additional resources are likely to pale in comparison with what’s spent incarcerating people from the same neighborhoods.

BROOKS VS. PAYTON

GAME ON: After controversy over cancellation, Payton to play at Brooks on Saturday night Sun Times: Days after Payton College Prep forfeited last Saturday night’s baseball game, amid parents concerns about their kids traveling to play Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, the matchup has been rescheduled for this Saturday night. The news came after a Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett met with Payton’s principal and baseball coach over the controversial cancellation.

Schools ready to play ball now Tribune: A baseball game between Walter Payton College Preparatory High School and Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy was rescheduled for Saturday at Brooks, Chicago Public Schools officials said Monday.

Payton, Brooks and 'down there' Tribune (editorial): A forfeited high school baseball game has Chicago talking. Good. An hour or so before their teams were to meet under the lights in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago, the two high school baseball coaches had an awkward conversation.

Brooks Students Weigh In On Baseball Boycott: 'I Felt Judged' DNAI: Principal said a game day visit from Mayor Emanuel made players and students feel "loved and respected."

You Can’t Beat Fun at the Old Ballpark CPS Chatter: I do have trouble with the whole idea that the city can get so worked up about the safety of a dozen kids crossing neighborhood boundaries, when we are subjecting so many thousands of students to far worse through these school closings.
TEACHERS
Englewood Teacher Chosen as a 2013 Golden Apple Award Winner DNAI: A Team Englewood High School reading teacher is among the 2013 Golden Apple recipients.
Quinn surprises Englewood teacher with Golden Apple Sun Times: Freshman English teacher Katherine Dube encourages her students to yell insults at each other during class. Those would be Shakespearean insults.
After school program brings bricolage mural making into Chicago classrooms ChicagoTalks: Green Star Movement is a nonprofit arts organization that provides the youth in Chicago with the opportunity to participate in public art projects in the city, all while making a difference in their communities and getting a behind-the-scenes look at how an original mural is produced, designed, & installed.
CHARTERS
Concept Charter School Proposal Back on Zoning Agenda DNAI: After charter management company's proposal was removed from zoning committee agenda, it's back on.

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  • Hyde Park Johnny: Chicago Alderman Cardenas: Shady Charter School Rezoning Deal http://ow.ly/kyYv8 [more about Concept Charter]

  • We Are Chicago Students, and We Are Here to Save Our Schools! ← NPE News Briefs http://ow.ly/kzyJo

  • Alexander has posted links to two very dramatically different takes on the now famous Payton/Brooks baseball game controversy. One was the CPS Chatter perspective that argued the story didn’t "really warrant[ ] all the press it received," and a Tribune editorial that argued that the discussion the story generated wasn't such a bad thing because in a way it cleared the air.

    No matter the facts of the story, whether or not Payton parents were concerned about their kids going to a night game in an all African American community or the central issue was transportation and notice time for the Payton students, there was a visceral reaction to what happened.

    It's also clear the Brooks head baseball coach Bryan Street or Alderman Beal who is an assistant coach leaked this story to the media with an attached racial spin to it. Then we also had Father Michael Pfleger throwing gas on the fire with additional comments to the media.

    There is an unspoken problem here and I suspect that problem is that a number of current Brooks students were rejected by Payton for admission and a good number of black politicians in this city who tried to use clout via principals picks did not get their own kids into Payton. For example back in 2010 Carol Moseley Braun, the former Illinois Senator. when asked about her getting a black middle class child into a CPS selective school even though that student had below par test scores, she replied, "This process is not pure, and everyone knows it. The process is a disaster, and quite frankly, I don’t have a problem making a call. If the process were not as convoluted as it is, parents wouldn’t be asking for help."

    Let's also recall that Reverend Meeks in July 2006 led a march on Payton. One of the demands of the march was for equal treatment of African American CPS high schools and one example of the problem used at the march and press conference was the conversion of St. Martin de Porres High School into what is now call Brooks. As people may or may not know the building occupied by Brooks was built in 1915 as the Pullman Free School of Manual Training and was privately run for years. It wasn't until 2010 that a $34.9 million contract was awarded for the full rehab of Brooks.

    Then there is the statistical reality of Payton vs. Brooks. Simply put Brooks has about triple the percentage of low income students that Payton has and Brooks meets the statistical definition of a racially isolated school. Brooks technically in 2012 did not make AYP in reading for its students because only 76% were reading at state standards, the primary driver of this failure to make AYP was low income students. In the junior class last year in the pool that took the PSAE there were 160 low income students and only 25 students above the poverty line. As was to be expected the largely African American non-low income students out performed those students who were low income. So the data is clear if Brooks had more middle class kids it more than likely would have made AYP. This is also not to say that Brooks does not have some brilliant low income students, but the data is what it is.

    Needless to say Payton is not faced with this problem. Even more problematic is the fact that based on 2012 ACT scores only 55% of Brooks students achieve what is called the college readiness benchmark in reading and the percentage of Brooks students reaching this benchmark has been slightly declining since 2007 as has the percentage on non-low income students. Payton in 2012 has 90% of its students overall reaching the college readiness benchmark and its low income students are so high scoring that 90% are reading at state standards.

    Simply put there is more to this story than a baseball game, or accusations of racism. There is also an underlying issue of our city's social class divide and inequity in the environment students are raised in. I don't have a proposed solution to this problem and I doubt Mayor Emanuel does either. Going to a baseball game won't fix that bigger problem, but clearly based one story that Alexander linked the Mayor's attendance at the Brooks game made some of the Brooks players feel better about the entire situation and Mayor Emanuel should be given credit for that.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Well said Rod. I know the Brooks principal, D'Andre Weaver, from his recent stint as an AP at Payton and I have complete faith in him. He's a fantastic administrator and I would suggest that ALL Chicago parents should consider Brooks for high school.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    How would Brooks become racially integrated? Step-by-step, how could that happen?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    That is a great question and I doubt CPS has ever contemplated it. I would also add even if Brooks can't become a racially diverse school could it at least have a goal of becoming social economically diverse. Why has the percentage of black families above the poverty line declined slowly at Brooks?

    Are these families sending their kids more often to the big three, Northside, Young, and Payton? Or are they sending their kids to private schools? Clearly the percentage of students above the poverty line at a school like Brooks is totally inconsistent with the actual percentage of Black families above the poverty line living in the city. For that matter we can see a similar pattern at King College Prep. Is the basis for that to be found in the racial isolation of Brooks itself, meaning that Black middle class families want their children to be competitive within a larger society that is racially diverse? Or is the issue a simpler one that many families above the poverty line in the Black community are simply taking advantage of the free and reduced lunch system because every one was doing it at the elementary school level? My assumption is that the percentage of low income students at Brooks is not driven by families gaming the system.

    I don't have the answers to these questions which were prompted by the great question about Brooks. CPS, the city, and the media needs to think about these issues. I would also like to hear the retired principal's thoughts on this issue, because I have come to deeply respect his perspectives on Chicago's African American community and its relationship to CPS.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    How could Brooks become integrated? That's too difficult a question for me.
    I'll propose a more practical question: How do we help the highly capable students at Brooks who are attending a segregated school become more ready to compete in majority culture?
    I'm afraid we're stuck with segregation for now. We know that the historical cure is upward mobility.
    Both as a student and as a manager I've seen how difficult transitions are for many young people from segregated schools.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You bring up race, I didn't. economic diversity would help Brooks regardless of skin color which by itself has little bearing on education outcomes.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    I'm interested in racial & economic diversity in CPS, which would be hard to achieve on a per-school basis. The selective enrollment schools might have the best crack at it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Agreed, Payton the school I'm familiar with is a prime example.
    About 30% low income another 20% just barely above that, 30% making an o.k. living and about 20% comfortable, is my best guess. The "races" or ethnicities follow a similar general pattern but all shades of skin color (which is an irrelevant consideration I think) are in found in all economic categories.

  • Carol Moseley Braun ought to know, her step-son went to Whitney Young back in the day.

  • ...as did Ruth Love's newly adopted daughter....

  • UNO CEO Juan Rangel is shown posing with a corporate jet identified as “our private jet.” Was this jet purchased with funds designated by the state for educational programs?

    *Several photos show Rangel and family members using at least one UNO charter school for personal family events. Did the family pay rent, or are the schools being used as a personal party venue?

    *Several photos show Rangel and UNO staff (some in Mickey Mouse ears) posing at Disneyland, purportedly for staff training. Is this an appropriate use of educational funds?

    These photos also raise questions about whether UNO is using state funds to endorse and campaign for political candidates in violation of grant requirements as well as IRS non-profit rules.

    *One photo caption on Rangel's Facebook page promotes candidate Silvana Tabares, and adds, “If you haven't received an election day assignment, send me a message and I'll connect you to the campaign.”

    *Another photo shows a button, “Blago must go” with the UNO logo.

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