First Lady's Visit

First Lady's Visit

The big story of the day is the First Lady's visit to the city, which included a downtown speech and a trip to Harper HS.  Did she talk about the school closings, pro or con?  Did she suggest that CPS or its schools were responsible for street violence?  Not that I've heard.  Meantime, there's some back and forth about the Sun-Times editorial about the number of kids affected by the closings, which relied on a report by some UIC researchers.  Former CPS charter chief Greg Richmond has an oped about the need for more quality options for parents.  Last but not least:  truancy, preschool, British School, and a harsh cartoon from Crain's.


Michelle Obama Visits Chicago to Combat Youth Violence WTTW: First Lady Michelle Obama makes an impassioned plea to Chicago business leaders to help solve the problem of youth violence here. Paris Schutz has the story.

Michelle Obama in Chicago: ‘Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her’ Sun Times: First lady Michelle Obama in a Chicago visit Wednesday grew emotional, choking on her words as she explained how she struggled to bring comfort to the friends of Hadiya Pendleton the day they were to bury their friend. “I urged them to dream as big as she did,” Michelle Obama said to a group that gathered to back Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s initiative to raise $50 million and invest the money into youth programs in troubled neighborhoods.

Michelle Obama: "Hadiya Pendleton Was Me...But I Got To Grow Up" Chicago Magazine: The First Lady, speaking at a forum on youth violence today, issued a stirring (but not very specific) call to action.

First lady’s tough stand against violence is long overdue Sun Times (Lynn Sweet)): The usually cautious first lady Michelle Obama came home Wednesday to voluntarily plunge herself into a controversy, speaking out for the first time on two life-and-death matters: On preventing youth violence in Chicago and the need for Congress to at least vote on gun control measures. To this I can only add: Finally. What is the point of being one of the most popular people in the U.S. with a powerful platform if you don’t use it. I just hope Mrs. Obama’s era of being risk-averse is over — when it comes to protecting kids in her city, my city, …

Michelle Obama: "Hadiya Pendleton Was Me...But I Got To Grow Up"  Chicago Magazine: None of these investigations really offer an easy answer on how to curb Chicago's problems with violence. It will be interesting to see what exactly this fund—with a goal of raising $50 million—plans to do to turn things around.
Michelle Obama Addresses Violence In Chicago: 'For Me, This Is Personal'  Chicagoist: The speech ended with Obama urging business leaders to provide the necessary resources for inner city youth to have better opportunities. She also spoke of the need for more responsible parents, better schools and neighborhoods, and more engaged community involvement. Emanuel's anti-youth violence plan seeks $50 million in funding.

West Side parents, aldermen say closing school puts kids on road to danger Chicago Sun-Times: King Elementary parents have been telling Chicago Public Schools how dangerous it would be for their children to trek to Jensen Elementary next year. On Tuesday, a bunch of King supporters, including Aldermen Bob Fioretti (2nd) and Jason Ervin (28th), ...

Springtime for poor people in Chicago Reader (Joravsky): When I got home yesterday from one of the protest marches over the school closings, I had a chance to hear Mayor's Emanuel's latest explanation as to why he's closing 54 schools.

Unions Unite, Issue Joint Report Against School Closings Progress Illinois: Members and leaders of three unions representing workers in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system criticized the city's recent round of school actions in a joint report issued Tuesday, saying school closings hurt children, struggling neighborhoods, and ...


Charter school wars hurting all children Sun Times (Greg Richmond): While there is some overlap in applications to the various schools, there are well over 50,000 Chicago students looking for a better school. Unfortunately, they are seeking those better schools in the midst of turmoil that has not been seen in our public school system in decades.


Early education shakeup: Programs to lose teachers, students Catalyst: Several center directors contacted by Catalyst Chicago say they have not yet received information about helping students transition to new programs. It’s unclear what, if anything, the district will do. One center director whose agency serves dozens of special-needs students said she got a clear message from a meeting with CPS this week: “I have to do my own plans.”

Tribune's truancy investigation wins 2 national awards Chicago Tribune: The Chicago Tribune today received two national journalism awards for stories that uncovered a devastating pattern of absences among African-American and disabled elementary students in Chicago Public Schools. The investigative series, “An empty-desk ...

British School plans altered; reaction mixed Chicago Gazette: Approximately 25 people, including Alderman Danny Solis (25th Ward), braved the March 5 snowstorm to hear updates about the proposed British School coming to the South Loop’s Roosevelt Collection, a McCaffery Interests project.


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  • Tribune's Eric Zorn laments Spelling Bee changes that don't go far enough

  • What does this mean for sped in CPS?

    "BUDGETING FOR EDUCATION: President Barack Obama's budget proposes new money for a big expansion of prekindergarten programs, a new competitive-grant program for high school improvement, a new Race to the Top competition focused on higher education—and level funding for the two formula grants school districts depend on most: Title I grants for disadvantaged students and special education. (Education Week)"

  • Congrats to the Trib on truancy awards--too bad CPS did NOTHING to help elementary schools get parents to get their little children to school.
    No FACE person coming to help the students and the schools. The trib was ignored. Maybe this should be Trib's next project. Good luck.

  • Charters: weren't Shabazz DuSable and Aspira Ramirez HS recommended by the Board in February for phase-out due to poor performance? Shabazz is at Level 3 and is estimated at $10.5 million dollars to maintain. U of C Charter - Level 2; Chgo International Charter School (CICS) Washington Pk-Level 3; Apira Hogan-Level 3; CICS Haugan-Level 2; Perspectives Leadershio Acad-Level 2; Perspectives Calumet Tech-Level ; CICS Ellison-Level 3; CICS Longwood-Level ; Catalyst Charter Circle Rock-Level 3; U of C Donoghue-Level ; Perspectives Charter IIT-Level 3; Bronzeville Lthouse Chtr Campus - Level 2; CICS-AVALON /SO SHORE-Level 3; Urban Prep-Englewood Level 3; Galapos Chtr Level 3; LEARN Chtr-Campbell Level 3; ASPIRA Early College Level 2; UNO Fuentes Level 2; UNO Garcia Level 2; UNO Tamayo Level 3; Urban Prep West Level 3; Chicago Virtual Level 3; Catalyst Howland Level 3 and on and on.
    There are good charters just like there are good public schools BUT as you point out charters have been around since 1997 and since they are suppose to be the answer to the horrible "real" public schools then they should all be performing at Level 1.
    Why are we replacing Level 2 & 3 public schools with Level 2 & 3 charters?
    All of the above numbers were taken from a utilization report the Board released in December 2012. Of course a bunch of the charters are underutilized (what happened to those 19,000 kids on the waiting list). There are a little over 100 charters on the list, around 54 are at Level 2 or 3. So if families are looking for better schools for their children then maybe they shouldn't be looking at these charters. Just saying.

  • Excellent point! Personally I would have thought CIC-Longwood would have been closed years ago. How they remain open is truly a mystery....or a good connected person.

  • Headache299
    Kate Grossman and Mark Brown, both completely colon kissing gutless hacks on Chicago Newsroom

  • Headache299??? Did you take a minute to watch the interview? The whole show and everyone on it was right on the mark--including Kate G. saying that while BBB may be sincere, she doesn't run things and the Mayor is determined to close 1/3 of the district schools and turn it over to charters.

  • Headache299
    Ira, I saw the whole show. Did you take a minute to read the whole Commission on School Utilization report?

    Katie Grossman says, “She (BBB) accepted pretty much all of their (commission on school utilization) recommendations”

    Really? Pretty much all?!
    How about these three recommendations:

    • Don’t close underutilized schools that are close to efficient utilization
    • Don’t close underutilized schools that have recently experienced a significant school action.
    • Don’t close schools that are in the process of adding grades.

    Grossman also said that BBB was speaking from the heart (is this really reporting), and did a good job of listening.
    A good job of listening?!

    After NOT attending one single hearing, BBB said
    “Everybody got it that we really needed to close schools….”

    I attended three of the meetings and NOBODY got it that “we really needed to close school”

    Because Cantv plays to a progressive audience, Grossman is careful to appear balanced: out one side of Grossman’s mouth she says the utilization formula ‘packs kids into schools’, out the other side, she says that it ‘makes sense to consolidate them’

    Well, which one is it? Packed schools are bad, or packed schools make sense?

    Grossman: “BBB made a pledge, and I assume she’s going to honor it, as long as she’s CEO, that she will not put charters in there because their politically such a football, because theory is that they’re closing these schools so that they will be charters because that’s the Mayor, really favors charters. So, yea, it’s a tough one but I see why she made that pledge, to get through this experience of closing these schools, I don’t see how she how she could have done it differently”

    “will not put charters in there because it’s politically such a football”? I guess I’m supposed to believe that political footballs are also ‘from the heart’.

    “So, yea, it’s a tough one” a tough one?! Temporarily delaying a bad social policy for later on is a tough one? Sure, it’s tough if you want to cause a lot of community damage immediately as opposed to spreading it out.

    Ultimately, Grossman’s argument is "it makes more sense to disaffect 47 thousand kids over a period of two years instead of one because it looks really bad”

    Nothing like postponing imminent destruction for gradual destruction because it takes a little time to apply the makeup

    How many sticks of Revlon Moon Drops Moisture Cream Lipstick must be emptied to see that there is no underutilization of BBB’s Hind-Quarters, nor Grossman’s Lips?

  • Yea, Kate Grossman will have credibility when she sends kids to such schools. (Go ahead. Attack me now.)

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