UNO Unionization, Hansen RIP

UNO Unionization, Hansen RIP

Lots of news today:  UNO teachers unionize (will this affect how CTU members think about charters?), Obama is set to nominate Pritzker for his Cabinet, Payton and Brooks players are meeting at CPS tomorrow AM, and longtime CPS educator Phil Hansen has passed away (RIP).


Obama to nominate Chicago exec Penny Pritzker as Commerce secretary Thursday Sun Times: President Barack Obama will tap Chicago business executive Penny Pritzker to be the next Commerce Secretary on Thursday, a White House official told the Chicago Sun-Times. Obama will make the announcement at 9 a.m. Chicago time during an event at the White House before he departs for Mexico City.


UNO charter teachers vote to unionize Sun Times:Teachers at one of Chicago’s largest charter-school networks — run by the United Neighborhood Organization — have voted to organize into a union.

Teachers at UNO charters vote to unionize Tribune: Teachers at schools run by the United Neighborhood Organization, one of the largest charter networks in the city, voted Wednesday to unionize.
Arbitrator counting union votes at UNO Charter Catalyst:  Years of legal battles have kept it from gaining a foothold at Chicago Math and Science Academy, and at Latino Youth High School. An April 18 secret-ballot vote at Latino Youth, which was 10 to 1 in favor of a union, may put an end to the strife, says Chris Baehrend, a teacher at the school who is also vice president of Chicago ACTS.

Chicago Charter Schools Unionize WSJ:  Teachers in one of the country's largest nonprofit charter-school groups voted to unionize, fortifying efforts by organized labor to expand in an area of public education where it has been largely unwelcome.

UNO charter school teachers unionize WBEZ: Mullins says UNO has been in contact with union representatives for more than a year. He said the recent agreement to allow teachers to organize is not related to an ongoing investigation of UNO schools for potential misuse of a state construction grant.


Derrion Albert’s Mom Speaks Out Against School Closures Fox via CPS Chatter: ”I don’t care if the schools are three blocks apart,” Albert says. “You know the kids, they don’t get along with each other and you’re gonna mix all them in together and you’re gonna basically come out with the same situation that we had that happened in September of ‘09.”

Players from Payton, Brooks to meet at breakfast Friday at CPS headquarters Sun Times: A breakfast will be held Friday to promote fellowship among high school baseball players from two teams caught up in a controversy after a North Side coach said he was forced to cancel a game on the South Side because parents feared for their children’s safety. Players from Payton College Prep and Brooks College Prep will meet to share the meal at Chicago Public Schools headquarters


Chicago Public Schools raises questions with $162 million capital budget Tribune: Chicago Public Schools released a proposed $162 million capital budget for its 2014 fiscal year Wednesday that officials said will focus only on the "most urgent needs and educational facilities," in light of a projected $1 billion budget deficit.

Will new teacher evaluations help or hurt Chicago’s schools? Hechinger Report: As of early April, Boran and two assistant principals had collectively done 98 observations using the city's new teacher evaluation system. Boran's assessments take her three hours apiece, from reviewing pre-observation lesson plans to a post-evaluation conference and data entry.

How mayor can bring hope to city’s disadvantaged students Sun Times (oped): Currently, 17 states offer 33 programs enabling parents to send children to private schools with public money. Critics still object that some private schools are religious, but this is legal, as shown (again) by a recent favorable ruling about the constitutionality of school choice in Indiana.


Philip J. Hansen Obituary  Sun Times: Visitation Friday, May 3rd 3:00 to 9:00p.m. at Chapel Hill Gardens South Funeral Home 11333 S. Central Ave., Oak Lawn. Funeral Saturday, lying in state 10:00a.m. until time of service at 11:00a.m at Peace Memorial Church, 10300 W. 131st St., Palos Park. Interment Chapel Hill Gardens South Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Peace Memorial Church. For info: or 708-636-1200.



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  • ST op-ed on vouches: How could vouches access high-quality private schools in Chicago?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I am totally unclear why Ms Huffman and her co-authors of the op-ed believe it would be legal for the City of Chicago or CPS to subcontract with private religious schools to provide education to public school students. The voucher programs Ms Huffman cites have been upheld as not violating the separation of church and state only because the tuition payments are made to the parents of children who are enrolling them in these private religious schools.

    In Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, 536 U.S. 639 (2002) the Supreme Court ruled that the Ohio program did not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, because it passed a five-part test developed by the Court in this case, called the Private Choice Test.

    One aspect of that five part test was that aid must go to parents and not to the schools. The court found that in the Ohio case there is no need for parents to use religious schools, and so long as the law did not especially encourage the use of vouchers for religious schools, the fact that most parents do choose parochial schools was irrelevant in the court majority opinion.

    In the scenario Ms Huffman et al. puts forward CPS or the city would be contracting with religious schools directly and making direct payments which would not be legal under the Zelman decision. Students could only attend the school CPS contracted with and currently I know of no secular private schools in Chicago that have numerous empty seats, nor would CPS be willing to pay FW Parker, Latin,Near North Montessori, Rogers Park Montessori, British School, or Lab school tuition rates if there were seats at these private secular schools.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    I'd suppose Ms Huffman and her co-authors are thinking of funding Meeks-type schools, no? Not sure if her audience is thinking along those lines, however.

  • vouchers

  • Rebeca Nieves Huffman: DIdn't she get upset her child was in Barnard attendance boundaries rather than Sutherland's?

  • From Catalyst-Chicago website:

    CPS releases draft 10-year capital plan
    By: Sarah Karp / May 02, 2013

    On page 36 of the long-awaited draft of the district’s 10-year master facilities plan is this revelation: The district will only save $437 million in capital costs by closing schools, significantly less than the original figure of $560 million.

    The updated figure is the result of new assessments being done to prepare the final version of the 10-year master facilities plan, says CPS spokeswoman Kelley Quinn. Also, the $650 million figure included some mistakes that district officials have now corrected.

    The district has not published a comprehensive facilities plan in years.

    - more at catalyst

  • "Over the next 10 years, CPS is predicting even more decline. However, some neighborhoods are expected to experience enrollment increases, especially the Bridgeport-Chinatown area, Reed-Dunning on the Northwest Side and the Loop. Also, the North Side communities of Sauganash and Lincoln Park are expected to have more children enrolled in their schools.

    "The plan says the preferred method of dealing with overcrowding will be boundary changes, to limit or prevent out-of-area students from enrolling in special programs, such as regional gifted programs. District officials would also look at consolidating schools into underutilized buildings or co-locating a part of the school in another building." - from catalyst

  • Also from catalyst:

    CPS also plans an expansion of junior ROTC and military high schools, which are called “service learning leadership opportunities” in the plan. CPS will add 10 junior ROTC programs over 10 years and three military high schools. The Board of Education has already approved an expansion of Rickover Naval Academy and Marine Math and Science Academy to include 7th and 8th grade.

    The plan explains that there is “demand and overall interest” in these programs, with 5,400 applicants for 900 seats.

  • NEA and AFT would have had to organize 47 of those 381 new charter schools just to maintain their small market share

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