Unending Concerns

Unending Concerns

Today's news:  School visits from Mayor Emanuel, Google CEO, and Arne Duncan.  A Tribune look at documents suggesting receiving (welcoming) schools need repairs as much as sending ones.  Toni Preckwinkle voices strong opposition to the closings.  Longer walks.  AUSL performance questions.


Google boss, mayor visit South Side high school computer class Sun Times: Google chief Eric Schmidt — accompanied by his friend Mayor Rahm Emanuel — popped in to say hello to computer programming students at the South Side’s Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy. “It was shocking, breathtaking,” said freshman Raven Crump, 15. “I would love to give him my resume,” she said of Schmidt.

U.S. education secretary to U-46: How can we help? Daily Herald: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan connected with a former colleague in the suburbs Wednesday to take stock of how the federal agency could do its job better. Duncan, who worked with Elgin Area School District U-46 Superintendent Jose Torres when the two were administrators at Chicago Public Schools, took a tour and participated in an education round-table at Streamwood High School.


CPS documents raise questions about closings Tribune: In many cases, the district appears to have selectively highlighted data to stress shortcomings at schools to be closed, while not pointing out what was lacking at the receiving schools.

Toni Preckwinkle rips Emanuel, says CPS closure plan 'weakens our public ... Chicago Sun-Times:  Sun-Times' request for a response from Emanuel's office was instead answered by the mayor's schools chief, Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “The blame game hasn't worked for our students, and it's time for the adults to stop pointing fingers and start ...

Database shows average walks will nearly double Chicago Tribune:  "For neighborhood students that will not receive transportation, the average increase in distance from their home to their school building will be less than two blocks," says a "Fact Check" statement released by the Chicago Public Schools several weeks ...

Class sizes, closing schools Catalyst: Schools that are underutilized according to the district’s formula have, on average, two fewer students than in schools deemed to be at capacity. Only 4 percent of classrooms in closing schools are above recommended class sizes and 12 percent of classrooms in underutilized schools.

AUSL turnarounds called ineffective, expensive CMW: Of twelve turnaround schools listed on AUSL’s website which the group took over between 2006 and 2010, ten of them are on academic probation today.    Only one of them is rated as Level 1 — “high performing” — by CPS.


Why Vote CORE CPS Chatter: The same people who have been fighting to destroy the CTU, are hoping that even if CORE isn’t defeated, they can point at a large vote total for the opposition as proof that the Chicago Teachers Union is divided.   Every time in the past, when they believed we were too divided to organize, we proved them wrong.  I want to prove them wrong again.

Congress should do its job Sun Times (letters): What will happen to all the teachers and staffers left in the system allowed to live outside Chicago because they work in need-basis subject areas? Will there really be a “need” when there are going to be lines twisting around city blocks of unemployed CPS staffers looking for work?


BMI measuring in schools proves weighty issue Tribune: Like other fourth-graders at Evanston's King Laboratory School, Jennifer Dreller's daughter was discreetly weighed during gym class as part of a routine fitness assessment. But the experience took a toll on the 10-year-old's self-esteem, her mother...


Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • getting reports that schools are voting 100% CORE

  • not our school, very mixed and from what I can sense, leaning away from CORE

  • Dan Mihalopoulos' interview with President Preckwinkle in today's Sun Times was really very interesting. I thought that Dr. Bennett's response to Cook County Board President Preckwinkle was exceedingly unwise because it came off as was just too confrontational. President Preckwinkle is a real indigenous political player in this town and Dr. Bennett simply does not have the political capital to take her on.

    Asking that the CPS Board comply with the recommendations of hearing officers hardly merits Dr. Bennett's comment: “The blame game hasn’t worked for our students, and it’s time for the adults to stop pointing fingers and start becoming a part of the solution.” Then Dr. Bennett took a shot at President Preckwinkle's use of the badly performing "widget factory" analogy with Dr. Bennett stating: "Our children aren’t widgets and we aren’t running a factory — we’re trying to give children trapped in under-resourced schools a better education.”

    Really that last shot was amazing since Dr. Byrd-Bennett was the former superintendent in residency for Harcourt School Publishers back in 2006 a firm that clearly produced products aimed at the educational market place. Moreover, Dr. Byrd-Bennett was a member of the Education Advisory Committee of K12 INC a virtual school system. This firm in its S-1/A SEC Filing on 12/10/2007 included this interesting statement:
    "We offer virtual schools our proprietary curriculum, online learning platform and varying levels of academic and management services, which can range from targeted programs to complete turnkey solutions, under long-term contracts. These contracts provide the basis for a recurring revenue stream as students progress through successive grades. Additionally, without the requirement of a physical classroom, virtual schools can be scaled quickly to accommodate a large dispersed student population, and allow more capital resources to be allocated towards teaching, curriculum and technology rather than towards a physical infrastructure." (see page 52 http://sec.edgar-online.com/k12-inc/s-1a-securities-registration-statement/2007/12/10/section21.aspx )

    Doesn't that sound a lot like widgets being produced in a factory? So Dr. Bennett can beat up on President Preckwinkle for her analogy and Dr. Bennett can get beat up for her involvement in the commoditization of education. But issue that President Preckwinkle has put on the table is still there, will the Board follow the recommendations of the hearing officers yes or no? If not will the Board actually say why they are ignoring these recommendations rather than claiming these hearing officers exceeded their authority?

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I wonder if the head of the office formerly known as OSS is of the same POV as BBB on closures.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Where is Dr. Bennett's doctorate from? What was the thesis about?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    From her CPS bio -
    "Ms. Byrd-Bennett holds a Master’s of Science from Pace University, a Master’s of the Arts from New York University and a Bachelor’s of the Arts from Long Island University. Ms. Byrd-Bennett also holds honorary doctorate degrees from Cleveland State University, Baldwin-Wallace College, John Carroll University and the University of Notre Dame."

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Then she did not complete a thesis--this is an honorary degree. Not surprised about Cleveland--but did that work out?
    Notre Dame gave an honorary--why?
    Pace U: 2012-2013 Stats • $36,504 tuition and fees -
    Student-Faculty Ratio: 11:1

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Should one use the "Dr." when it's from an honorary degree? I'm unsure an honorary degree is a credential.

  • sample count 80%+ CORE

  • Toni and Karen have stood up to the mayor and told him he is wrong. Now I'm waiting for prominent men in the city to stand up and let him know he works for the people and needs to act like he does. The constituents don't work for him, and the mayor should not be a dictator to the constituents.

  • In reply to sammy:

    Actually Toni agreed with 3/4 of the closings, and then used rhetoric to make herself look good with those people currently paying close attention.

  • In reply to Donn:

    President Pereckwinkle has issued no public statement endorsing any particular closing. What she has stated is that she is not opposed to CPS closing schools that can be shown to be truly underutilized and where no harm is done to children. As she clearly stated she believes the hearing officer decisions opposing some closings reflect the problems in the process and at least those schools should be pulled off the list.

    I have repeatedly stated the same thing, and the organization I work for Access Living formally opposed at hearings only three closings. That does not mean we support all the other closings. Even the parent group Raise Your Hand has said it did not oppose CPS closing schools under certain conditions.

    By the way Donn how many closings did you go on record as opposing? I don't recall any. Does that mean you support all the proposed closings?

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I certainly don't know which of these schools should be closed. And we're still in "the process". Each hearing officers had one opinion among many that need to be considered. The only reply from CPS that I'm aware of was the statement concerning their statutory requirement to follow the hearing officers recommendation.
    There will be damage in these closing that could have been avoided if the process could have taken place in an orderly manner each year.
    There's plenty of harm being done to students each day. There's no choice, including "non-choice", that does no harm to students.

  • Then why, why, why does BBB not understand that she and Toni are on the same page?

  • "AUSL turnarounds called ineffective, expensive CMW: Of twelve turnaround schools listed on AUSL’s website which the group took over between 2006 and 2010, ten of them are on academic probation today. Only one of them is rated as Level 1 — “high performing” — by CPS."

    Some 10 out of 12? Why didn't turnarounding work?

  • Three days of marches in Chicago to protest school closings http://ow.ly/l9yVz

  • Editorial: The hollow promise of a better school - Chicago Sun-Times http://ow.ly/laqPd

  • CTU's Lewis Wins Second Term | NBC Chicago http://ow.ly/laqQM

  • Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review: 5/17 | Chicago Tonight | WTTW http://ow.ly/lawdg @kategrossman1

  • Are CPS retirees losing health insurance along with city worker? this is from their website http://meabf.org/

    City of Chicago and Board of Education Retirees
    This is to notify you that if you participate in your former employer's retiree health care plan, the law that required the Fund to make monthly payment to your former employer to assist in the payment of the monthly premium of your health insurance, end as of June 30, 2013. This could have a direct effect on the amount of your monthly premium that you are responsible for paying. We recommend that you contact your former employer to find out the impact of the ending of the monthly payment.


  • Chicago experts say children experiencing violence in the home are more likely to end up in gangs | WBEZ 91.5 Chicago http://ow.ly/lbiab

  • CUTTING CHICAGO SCHOOLS : Latino USA http://ow.ly/lbmSU

  • Maybe Toni should run for mayor - Chicago Sun-Times http://ow.ly/ldjRA

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