One Rating System For Everyone

One Rating System For Everyone

Thanks for the comments over the weekend.  Lots of news from Friday and over the weekend, including coverage of the new school rating system that will include both district and charter schools (what do you think?), preschool absentee rates that are too high (why?), speed cameras and first week stories.  


CPS ushering in new performance policy for schools Tribune:  After a dizzying and tumultuous year at Chicago Public Schools, a new performance policy intended to get more help for struggling schools could be the last major change for a while, district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett assured her troops last week....

CPS dumps ‘probation’ label for schools not making the grade Sun Times: Chicago Public Schools struggling academically will no longer be labeled as “on probation,” under a new ratings plan the district unveiled this week and set to begin in a year.


Preschoolers miss school, miss out on learning Catalyst:  Nearly half of 3-year-olds and more than a third of 4-year-olds missed at least 15 days during the school year.  African-American students were almost twice as likely as others to be chronically absent.
Editorial: Get your kids to preschool Chicago Sun-Times: The University of Chicago study, which followed 25,000 3- and 4-year-olds served by Chicago Public Schools preschool programs, found that almost half of ...
City tapping tech to track after-school activities for CPS Sun Times:  The Chicago Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Cooperative, as one example, counts more than 500 groups running 2,032 out-of-school STEM programs. The city is in the process of creating a Web portal,, to give parents and older students links to the websites of major city agencies and nonprofit organizations that run after-school programs, said Beth Swanson, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff for education. The link is expected to be live this fall. There also are many after-school activities run by …


Cops: Burglars steal laptops, tablets from elementary school Chicago Tribune:  Two Chicago Public Schools spokeswomen did not respond to repeated attempts to reach them for comment. The alert included a photograph of tablets with ...
Chicago School Opening Tests New 'Safe Passage' Routes Education Week News: ... police, volunteers, and district employees in Chicago's public schools all showed up for the start of school this week to make sure students got to class safely.
First week of school brings some success, more questions AustinTalks: Before the Chicago Board of Education voted to close schools in May, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett promised welcoming schools would get certain capital improvements, including air-conditioning and iPads for all students.

CPS says first day attendance up over last year even with 12000+ ...Chicago Sun-Times: Opening day attendance at Chicago Public Schools was up this year over last year, according to the district. That's despite a new unified calendar in which all ...

After Largest School Shutdown in History, Spared Schools See Few ...In These Times: The school year started on Monday for all 403,000 Chicago Public Schoolsstudents. Media coverage has largely focused on the “safe passage” routes that the ...


City IDs Spots for 50 Additional Speed Cameras NBC Chicago: The first batch of four cameras went up on Monday, the first day of classes for Chicago Public Schools students. Another eight camera were scheduled to be ...

Emanuel announces 50 speed camera locations Tribune: Just as most Chicagoans were heading into the holiday weekend and tuning out the news, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the full list of 50 locations where the city will put up ticket-issuing speed cameras near parks and schools by the end of the year.


Interpreting new ISAT scores CPSObsessed: Did anyone get their kids’ ISAT scores this week?  Our school handed them out and there are a lot of charts to see if your child hit the Common Core Exceeds/Meets//Below/Warning levels.
Union bosses fail working people they claim to help Chicago Sun-Times: And when Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, started the new school year, it did so with about 3,000 fewer Chicago Teachers Union, or CTU, workers.

Hey, Mr. Mayor: Don't mess with Wendy Katten! Chicago Reader: In one corner, representing the Chicago Public Schools, was Andrea Zopp, a mayoral appointee to the board of education. And in the other corner, representing ...

US Rep. Hultgren has 'real concerns' about Common Core Crain's Chicago Business: The program largely was developed by former Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan, now the U.S. education secretary, and is designed to make sure kids ..

Charlie Trotter Should Go Back to the Kitchen ChicagoNow: According to reports from several local media outlets, Charlie had allowed Chicago Public Schools' "After Schools Matters" program to use his now-shuttered ...


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  • How to Train and Retain Great Principals in Struggling Urban Schools - PBS NewsHour Feat. @chipubschools @wallacefdn

  • PBS/WTTW segment says UIC-trained Principal Ernesto Matias has helped revive Wells HS

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Cindy needs to tell Rita to chuck the gum-quite unprofessional especially on film-role model?

  • Curie Students Say They Were Turned Away For Wrong Backpack | NBC Chicago

  • Ben Joravsky and I agree that Wendy Katten got the best of Ms. Zopp on WTTW. I honestly was amazed that Ms Zopp continued to deny that charter schools got increased funds beyond their enrollment growth. Maybe she simply does not understand the Gates Compact and what it requires CPS to do.

    The data that Joravsky presents is correct, or as correct as it can be, and the CPS actually admits this in its budget. CPS writes at pages 10-11 of the FY 14 budget:

    "As discussed in the Schools chapter, we have changed the way pensions are paid for charter schools. We are now distributing an equitable share of pension funding to charter schools, and those charters whose teachers are part of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund are required to pay the employer contribution. Because CPS statutorily makes the contribution, the charters will remit the payment to CPS, where it will be counted as revenue, but it is essentially a pass-through to the pension fund."

    On page 20 of the budget CPS states in the FY 14 budget if is adding "$26 million in pension payments for charter schools."

    CPS also states in the FY 14 budget:

    "The FY2013 budget showed all charter/contract tuition ($355.3 million) and the facilities
    supplement for charter/contract schools ($25.3 million) as part of core instruction, for a total of $380.6 million. In FY2014, only the SBB portion of charter tuition ($310.6 million) is included in core instruction. The non-SBB portion of charter tuition ($108.0 million) and the facilities supplement ($27.0 million) are shown as “Operations” costs. The total amount of charter/contract tuition and facilities supplement for FY2014 is $445.6 million, an increase of $65.0 million from FY2013. The increase is due primarily to new and expanding charter and contract schools."

    But then we have a table on page 27 of the FY 14 CPS budget. In that table CPS projects it will provide charter schools $567,519,000 in FY 14. Ben uses the $567,519,000 figure when he states: "According to CPS, you, the taxpayers, spent $487.8 million on charter schools in 2013. Next year, CPS has you on the hook to spend about $568 million. That's about an $80 million—or 16 percent—increase."

    If we go to last year's CPS budget and look at a similar table to the one I referenced above which is on page 13 we see cost of charter schools in 2013 was $483 million. But in 2013 CPS broke out Alternative schools from the charter total.

    A good amount of the Alternative school dollars are going to the Youth connection charter schools which in 2013 was paid around $30 million. If we put just that $30 million into the charter school total you get something like $513 million or an increase of around $55 million for charters in FY 14.

    Let's be clear here both the Civic Federation and myself for Access Living found confusion in the FY 14 budget in trying to figure out costs. Whatever, the increase in money going to charters - $80 million, $65 million, or only $55 million it is composed of three factors. (1) a projected increase in charter school students, (2) CPS picking up about $26 million in Chicago Teachers Pension Fund payments for charter schools, (3) CPS picking up an unknown amount of charter school social security payments for some special education staff, and (4) CPS picking up this year the full cost of certified charter school teachers salaries.

    In any case Ben's central point about Ms. Katten's and Zopp's WTTW performances are correct. Ms. Zopp was dead wrong charter school are getting more money in FY14 and Ms. Katten was correct.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    here's a response to rod from INCS:

    The increases reflected in the CPS FY14 budget are mainly due to 2 factors: (1) increased enrollment in more than 60 of the 130 Chicago charter campuses; and (2) start-up funds that are provided to all schools, regardless of type.

    Just as new district-run school like Jones College Prep or Back of the Yards High School receive funding for one-time purchases of desks, computers, and related materials, charter schools also receive these funds.

    Since the charter sector grew by 15 schools this year, such funding was made available. So while this seems like new funding in the budget, it is actually simply treating charters like other new schools.

    As for other operational funding, the social security payment CPS paid last year as part of the Gates payment for noncertified teachers is no longer provided, resulting in a decrease for charters. And the pension deduction and the special education changes have also had negative effects on charters such that charter high schools are down year-over-year on an apples to apples basis.

    Charter elementary schools fared better because the student based budget approach used for all schools increased their base allocations more.

    Finally, those who claim that charter schools receive advantageous facilities treatment are mistaken. While it is true that charters located in CPS owned schools generally pay $1 per year in their lease, there is a backcharge against their per pupil that is withheld from charter schools. This effectively operates as rent to the school and is meant to cover janitorial, engineering, and other related facilities costs. These are costs not borne in the same way by traditional public schools.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I found the statement about the retraction of social security payments interesting because CPS nowhere indicates that in its FY 14 budget, but I have zero doubt that its true. INCS does not discuss the implementation of equal funding for special education teachers.

    In 2014, CPS will pay charter schools $51,676,135 in reimbursement for special education teachers hired. CPS paid charter schools $41,294,538 by the end of FY13 for special education teachers. The one year increase is $10,381,597 or a 25% increase. The driver of this increase is not a vast increase in identified students with disabilities in charter schools.

    The driver is that in the 2011-2012 school year, the maximum reimbursement rate for charter schools was $65,000 per year, per full-time equivalent special education teacher. Now that reimbursement rate is the average salary as long as average salary is within CPS average and no individual salary exceeds CPS maximum salary.

    I supported fair and equal funding for these charter school special education teachers. The problem is CPS simply given its current fiscal condition can't afford this, so it has to effectively take money from one hand to the other hand. We can blame pensions, but we knew this payment increase was coming years ago. We can blame the state, but we knew it was broke. We can blame the city for its low property tax rate enforced by the state tax cap. We can blame CPS for cutting the Gates deal in this current environment. There is enough blame to be shared by all.

    Rod Estvan

  • It's just kindergarten. But early absenteeism in school can point to later problems in life - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • CPS employees do not pay into SS but are you saying that the charter school teachers do? Is this because they do not pay into the pension?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yes, not all charter school teachers are certified and those teachers pay into SS. Aides working in charter schools are not required to pay into the Chicago Teachers Pension fund and they I think pay into SS also.

    Rod Estvan


    ...........and this is where OSES buses disabled 3 year olds from Mount Greenwood!

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