Dueling Board Mtg. Protests

Dueling Board Mtg. Protests

Today's news includes Board meeting coverage (including some interesting votes by Carlos Azcoitia and dueling protesters), more about closings, and some news about school bus cameras from downstate.  Anything else?  Do we know how many kids opted out of testing yesterday?


School closings occupy CPS board meeting Chicago Tribune: With one month to go before board members vote on whether to close 53 elementary schools and a high school program, parents, teachers and an elected official came to the meeting Wednesday seeking to raise issues that they hope will save their schools from the chopping block.

CPS protests: Students reject tests, charter school backers want equal funding Sun Times: Charter advocates have said privately run schools have been unfairly blamed for school closings by the Chicago Teachers Union and other opponents of school closings. On Wednesday, they also spoke against a resolution signed by 35 alderman that requested a moratorium on the number of charter schools in Chicago.

Charters, closings questioned by board members Catalyst:  Carlos Azcoitia, a former principal who has been on the board since November, voted against the establishment of a KIPP Charter School in Englewood. He also voted against renewing and expanding KIPP’s ACT campus and Chicago Virtual Charter School.

CPS Students Boycott State Test, March on Board of Education DNAI:Dozens of students passed on the second day of the Prairie State Achievement Examination to protest.

Chicago students boycott standardized test in protest of mass school closings MSNBC: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett say the closings are necessary because too many CPS facilities are half-empty and academically failing.

Ald. Austin Blasts CPS on Security for School Closings DNAinfo: Otherwise, however, the board remained largely stoic on the issue of school closings, which it is slated to vote on next month, in the face of criticism, including renewed charges of racism against CPS Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

CPS students skip standardized tests to protest ABC7Chicago: Hundreds of Chicago Public Schools students are trading their school books and pencils for picket signs. Some were scheduled to take mandatory state tests Wednesday.


CPS: South Side welcoming school better equipped than parents say Medill Reports: Chicago: Students rallied Wednesday at Chicago Public Schools' headquarters in the Loop protesting against the CPS plan to close 54 schools in an effort to save $43 million in annual operating costs. As in many similar protests in recent weeks, news cameras duly ...

School Closings Adversaries Press On NBC Chicago (blog): CPS superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett visited Hefferan Elementary, a Garfield-Humboldt Park school that will be welcoming new students this fall from soon-to-be-closed Hefferan Elementary.


State Senate OKs school bus camera plan after fiery debate on red-light cameras Sun Times:  Igniting hostilities on the Senate floor, a bid to expand the vast reach of red-light cameras by targeting motorists that illegally pass stopped school buses advanced Wednesday at the Statehouse. Despite questions about high fines and constitutionality of the cameras, the plan sponsored by Sen. Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) cleared the state Senate on a 36-12 roll call, with two members voting present, and now moves to the Illinois House.

CPS removes special-ed teacher after abuse complaints from parents Sun Times: A special-education teacher at Finkl Elementary School in the Little Village community has been removed from her classroom, Chicago Public Schools confirmed Tuesday — with the move coming after parents of her students complained of physical abuse against their children.



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  • Can I get some of dat clout too?


  • wow -- thanks. Duncan "doesn't recall" clouting daughter of wealthy Chicagoan into top public high school, reports @GregHinz http://ow.ly/kq4ko

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Greg Hinz adroitly avoids the greatest irony in the story about Mr. Rauner and his daughter's admission into Payton Prep. That irony is Mr. Rauner is a major backer of Noble Street Charter Schools in the city and Mr. Hinz himself also likes the Noble Street network. Let's be clear here, Mr. Rauner never for an instance even considered having his daughter attend one of the Noble Street campuses which he has praised for their high academics.

    Noble Street's Rauner College Prep opened in August 2006 and since his daughter is currently a college freshman that campus would have been fully up and operational when Rauner was clouting his daughter into Payton. But the problem with the campus that was named after himself in relation to his own daughter was the school has an average ACT score of 21, is populated by 98% minority students, and 86.5% come from low income families.

    When you compare this school to Payton you see huge differences. For example Payton's student body is 56.7% minority students, only 32.4% come from low income families, and the average ACT score is 27.7. So Mr. Rauner made a rational choice and got his daughter into Payton.

    By way of disclosure one of my own daughters graduated from Payton in 2008, but she did not get clouted in and I do not have a charter school named after myself. Both Mr. Rauner and I appreciate the advantages that an excellent school like Payton can provide to our children and we both want the best for our children. But apparently the irony of all this is lost on Mr. Hinz who has like Mr. Rauner touted charter schools run by Noble Street (see Greg Hinz June 28, 2010 " Numbers start to add up at charter schools in Chicago run by Noble Street group"). http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20100626/ISSUE05/100033600/numbers-start-to-add-up-at-charter-schools-in-chicago-run-by-noble-street-group#ixzz2RUkvjIjc

    Greg Hinz's little expose on Rauner might be more about killing him off in the Republican primary than addressing his thinking on education. It's not about Rauner's apparent contradictions and social class prejudices. The real question is which Republican candidate for Governor fed Hinz this story?

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Another straw man set up and knocked down. Charter high schools are not designed to replicate SE schools, and Rod knows it. If most CPS students would perform well in an SE type environment, there would be no need for charters like Noble and UP.

    As a parent, I would never let my children attend most CPS high schools. None of my children needed the "big" school day of Noble or UP either. But I would have been perfectly fine sending any of my white privilege children to Noble or UP if those were the realistic options. I doubt it's any different with the Rauners.

    I'm very pleased one of my children chose to teach at schools I would never have wanted her to attend. That's not inconsistant, it's just reality.

    Rauner apparently used clout to get his daughter into the school she most wanted to attend. That's a poor choice for someone interested in public office, but there's nothing ironic about it. He did what most parents would do in the same situation.

    I'll also add that my family member who teaches at Noble has a few student's who she wishes were at a top traditional high school like she attended. She doesn't believe that all students belong at Noble.

    I'm perplexed why I need to point out to some teachers here that specific types of schools are best for particular types of students. Isn't this obvious? How can you possibly teach at a tier 3 high school and believe the school would be the state-of-the art for most students except for the meddling from Clark street and the politicians?

    Payton serves specific students well. So does Noble. So do the better run tier 3 high schools. There is no "best".

  • In reply to Donn:

    No straw man Donn just hypocrisy on both Mr. Rauner's part and on the part of Greg Hinz. Donn as to the statement "I would have been perfectly fine sending any of my white privilege children to Noble or UP if those were the realistic options," but apparently they were not realistic options.

    Noble was not even an option for Rauner's daughter as it was not for my high performing daughter because its not really a Prep School is it? Rauner knows a real Prep School doesn't he?

    Noble Street does not make any claims that it is a school for moderately performing poor minority children, it claims to be a Prep School. I thought Noble Street had the secret sauce. But that sauce apparently does not work for upper income kids like my daughter and truly wealthy children like Mr. Rauner's daughter, or maybe your kids Donn. Why is that? Because it not what it claims to be.

    Probably most the most amazing thing you write donn is after saying what Rauner did clouting his daughter into Payton was fundamentally wrong is to write: "[Rauner] did what most parents would do in the same situation." I didn't do that and I would not have considered doing it either. My daughter also at the time was in the white pool that had very high cut scores, she just made the cut. But if she hadn't our family would have accepted her enrolling in another CPS high school including Mather where her disabled sister attended.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    As you well know, there's intentionally a small number of principal selected slots in these schools. You wouldn't ask that your child be considered in that group? That's unusual.

    But I'm not defending Rauner, or that process. People doing favors for their friends, family, and influential people is nothing new in Chicago.

    My larger point is that Rauner didn't found Rauner College Prep and claim it was the ultimate school for all children. He's a rich dude who got hit up for a big donation by Noble. He obviously could have funded a new Payton equivalent SE school instead of a new Noble. Why didn't he do that?
    He supports more school choice, especially in regards to rigor, for high need parents. How that makes him a hypocrite for not sending his child to Noble is beyond me.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Donn really do you think Mr. Rauner is just a rich guy out there funding school choice projects? Mr. Rauner is to give him credit a very strategic thinker. He has articulated his vision which includes making Illinois a so called right to work state, breaking teachers from the evils of unionization, and taking over the Governor's office.

    If you go to Mr. Rauner's website in his current run for Governor you will see his discussion of how he was a self made man and does not believe in living the high life. That may all be true, but he also is a perfect hypocrite for using strings to push his own daughter forward not based on her merit, which is the crux of Rauner's theory of meritocracy.

    Mr. Rauner knows full well that the education Noble Street can provide to its students is unlikely to make many students competitive with his own daughter in the Darwin like struggle that his ideology believes so deeply in. The use of the name Prep School is a marketing ploy to attract families.

    Rauner presents himself as capitalist hero fighting CTU communists. He is far more than just a rich guy who gave some money to Noble Street charter and got a school named after himself despite his modest demeanor.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Unfortunately, so many Chicagoans will gulp Rauner's Kool-Aid.

  • In reply to Donn:

    "...specific types of schools are best for particular types of students. "

    My neighborhood high school has to accept EVERYBODY who lives in the attendance area. A good number are violent and disruptive and do not belong here but we are stuck with them. Some are Noble rejects... one who can barely read.

    A few years back when Urban Prep graduated 100 college bound boys it was revealed that the freshman class they matriculated from consisted of 212 students. Apparently UP determined over half of the students they accepted AFTER their application process were not the "particular type" of students who were best for them. Last year they dumped 2 second semester seniors and close to ten other students they could not teach on my school. We do not have the luxury of abanDONNing them like charters do.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    So when did your school start graduating 100% of students? Did you "dump" and "abandon" the 50% plus of your students who drop out? Or does your terminology only apply to charters?
    The CTU opted out of true college prep for non-elite adolescents long ago. Apparently for some all that's left to argue with is name calling.
    If your point is that the adults working with the neediest students groups are increasingly pressured to achieve the unachievable, I agree. The idea that all tier 3 schools are failures is ridiculous. That's also one of the best arguments for publicly funded school choice in high need communities.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Dear Donn

    This is a profound statement:
    “So when did your school start graduating 100% of students? Did you "dump" and "abandon" the 50% plus of your students who drop out? Or does your terminology only apply to charters?”
    Here is a true account of some of my experiences
    In 1991 I was given a Division, that is CPS terminology for Homeroom, I had 26
    Freshmen ,13 boys and ,13 girls let’s start with the girls:
    One had a baby in 8th grade; eleven had babies during their High school years.
    Only one gird did not get knocked up. Of the eleven one kid was working on her third child by the time she should have been graduated. Despite that only four girls dropped out.
    I was real proud of my boys graduating 10 of them. I lost all three boys before Thanksgiving of their freshman year. All three were 17 year old freshmen .One of these social promoted
    boys weighted 480 pounds and broke almost every chair he sat on, still he was a nice kid whocalled to thank me for trying as he was driving his semi cross-country. Boy two decided his career
    as a dope salesman made more sense than school. The third boy took the judges hard bargain and chose school instead of county. His downfall was hiding a gun in the basement which he tried to
    use to settle a gang score.
    My reward for this was to have my Division broken up so that my kids could flesh out less successful teachers. I got so mad I actually transferred to a different school.
    The thing that upsets me about your post is that we admit our mistakes and do not Parade our successes as a marketing tool while some charters thing they are slick And try to scam the public. dropped out or counseled out the results are the same.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    "dropped out or counseled out the results are the same."

    Agreed, then why is there only vitriol and outrage towards charter schools when attrition numbers are noted. "Traditional" public schools do just as poor a job, often poorer, with attrition of students over the four years of HS. There should be an equal amount of outrage regarding the dropout statistic, but only charters are trashed for pushing out. Charters may parade their successes, but neighborhood schools say that hey take all comers and educate them all--but the reality is that they lose just as many, if not more than the charters. How is this not the same?

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    In reply to district299reader:

    Because it's a question of selectivity. Charter schools use an application process to select students.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The difference is that real public schools go to extraordinary
    lengths to keep kids in school,while our charter schools,as
    policy,throw them out. We are there to protect and teach kids.
    Charters seem to place a schools reputation above their students

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Charter schools are also incapable of dealing with students with behavior issues. Charters only accept the most compliant children. They cannot deal with even moderately challenging students.

    As Bob has stated, my school is required to hold onto students with severe behavioral issues, lengthy arrest records, who come from broken homes, who act out, who have attendance issues. Not keeping your shirt tucked or chewing gum can get you counseled out of a charter.

    If charters were required to take in children without active parents, students transferring in from jail, students with severe and repeated behavior issues they would fail at a rate far greater than their already pitiful percentage. Charters have unfair advantages and few of the disadvantages of public schools and still most of them flop. Allow neighborhood schools some of the advantages of charters - applications, counseling out, required parental involvement and watch charters get left in the dust.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Responding to the post about students with behavior issues and charter schools. I would not completely generalize about the inability of charters schools to educate students with emotional behavior disorders. What district 299 reader has said is more true for charter high schools than for elementary schools.

    However, even at the elementary school level some charter schools will tolerate very little disruption to orderly instruction on the part of the outlier child, others work with families. The basic problem is that CPS has not forced charters to educate these children and they do not write anything into the charter contracts that would require charter schools to educate more of these students.

    If you listen carefully to the leadership of Noble Street charter when they have been forced to discuss this issue they simply say their school isn't for every student and admit they have serious disciplinary standards. In some ways Donn comments on this blog reflect that perspective. Right now the public at large accepts that as common sense. But they do not link discussions like that to academic out comes and ideas like weeding out children.

    It is my opinion the CTU needs to work with unionized charter school teachers and progressive non-unionized charter school teachers to open up this discussion to the larger public. The CTU needs to look very critically at the role of alternative schools and the reality that there are also traditional schools that are pushing out disruptive students too. Lastly, the union needs to open a public discussion on the real fears some teachers have at the high school level and upper elementary school level relating to physical assaults. There needs to be a discussion on the difference between threats and actions on the part of students. There needs to be a discussion between the difference between when a verbal threat is real and breaks down order and discipline and when it is a reflection of the street ethos of not being disrespected by authority figures. Lastly there needs to be a discussion on what the line is between students with actual mental illness and acting out for peers.

    All of this stuff is not simple and applies both to charters and traditional schools alike.

    Rod Estvan

  • There's an amazing amount Funcan doesn't seem to recall of his time in Chicago

  • Hold the presses!!!!
    If 7000 kids applied to Payton and only 200 were accepted
    that means Payton has a waiting list of 6800 students.

  • No more state money for UNO, for now.

  • "Quinn and Madigan attended a groundbreaking last summer for the high school, which UNO planned to open next fall. The impact on those plans isn’t clear.

    "But Rangel noted, “We should not lose sight that there are hundreds of children already enrolled for the new UNO Soccer High School looking to start this fall in their school, currently under construction.”

    "The move to suspend the state funding came after the Quinn administration asked Rangel to respond to a Feb. 4 report in the Sun-Times revealing UNO’s hiring of the companies owned by d’Escoto’s brothers."

  • Ooo. Yummy. http://www.wbez.org/news/secret-redacted-clout-list-chicago-public-schools-106846

  • Why are charters not getting students from the closed schools?

  • Re: "Lastly there needs to be a discussion on what the line is between students with actual mental illness and acting out for peers." Will the new head of CPS sped address - and lead - this? She's a school psychologist, correct?

  • Also, there needs to be a discussion between CPS, CTU and CPD on the fact that teachers and staff have the same rights as a person at the bus stop. If a teacher or staff member is assaulted, hit, kicked punched or bitten then the student needs to be arrested, a police report filed and a CPS incident report filed. No newbie principal should ever tell a staff member not to call the police because it will make the school "look bad," the child didn't mean it or the child has an IEP. If a teacher or staff member is being hurt by students with disabilities then obviously the placement is incorrect etc.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Under state law aggravated assault is not different for children with disabilities. If your principal is asking that staff refrain from calling police in the situation of a student with both emotional disturbance and a cognitive disability who is elementary school age I have little problem with that if we are talking about kicking, bitting, or pushing. The same goes for students with autism that are self contained and are younger.

    I have had cases where students as young as 10 years old were arrested for throwing chairs, it didn't do either the child or the teacher any good. If you go to Cook County Detention you will see that 30% of the elementary school aged children there have IEPs. So clearly they are being arrested. Let's not forget that every year not only teachers are abused by students with IEPs but students are abused by teachers too. These two factors are not unrelated.

    Teaching children who can be violent both to themselves and others is very stressful and more often than not the families of these kids are totally stressed or falling apart. Teachers in this situation need more break time and support than they are getting now, behavior therapists need to be used more frequently. But putting more children in jail will not solve this problem.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Are CPS sped teachers and aides intensively trained in therapeutic crisis intervention and deescalation?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    From my 4 years of being a CPS special education teacher, the answer is NO.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, I don't think anyone wants children with disabilities in jail but in CPS unless you have the child arrested CPS will do nothing. I have seen children who attacked the bus driver, aide or teacher suddenly receive a placement change which is usually the placement they should have had all along. The behavior therapists in CPS are a joke, often the case manager does not want to deal with a 200 pound non-verbal child who is throwing chairs at peers and staff and principals only know how many days the child can be suspended under the law.
    CPS compounds the problem by misidentifying these students (justifies less supports/one to one aides etc) It would be interesting to find out how many self-contained programs have non-tenured or non-certified staff-makes reporting of problems much more difficult. The class size/physical space issue compounds all of this.


  • In reply to district299reader:

    Annie this issue is also the responsibility of the school based IEP teams. If they write the appropriate supports into the violent child's IEP and CPS fails to deliver at least the family has litigation rights. Over and over again we see teams going along with limiting supports and services for students.

    I know many teachers and other professionals on the teams often do not want to rock the boat. But there are cases where teams have done the right thing and written in supports they know CPS will likely not provide to the school. Life is a risk and special education teachers have to take some risks in order to get the supports students need.

    Rod Estvan

  • How competent are the CPS Behavior Intervention Specialists who assist the IEP team with the crisis intervention plan and positive behavior plan? Ours was a joke. Beyond ignorant. Must have been a clout hire.

  • The school based IEP team at "choice" schools is all too often under the control of the case manager. Team members will often go along with poor staffing decisions in order to stay at a "choice" school. Often decisions are not made in the best in interests of the child. One of my case managers who was aligned with the unethical principal (long story involving personal relationships and extra monies for those aligned with this principal) caused me to dissent on three IEPS. I did get what the child needed but at much personal pain-retaliation was swift but I weathered it. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again but would not recommend dissenting unless you have tenure, a perfect work record and a good rapport with the school community.

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