Special Ed, REACH, & TFA

Special Ed, REACH, & TFA

Here's today's education news (so far -- I'll add more on Twitter and in comments throughout the day).  Be sure to check out the piece about the special ed cap size debate.  There are also some updates and additions to the REACH report two posts down.  But the most interesting story to me at least is the news that TFA and the University of Minnesota are going to partner on an eight-week joint preservice training program as part of the agreement to allow TFA teachers to work there.  Though TFA's numbers are still relatively small, the controversy surrounding the program has grown in recent years as its members and alumni have in some places displaced (or been believed to have displaced) traditionally-trained veteran teachers.

CPS NEWS

State Board of Education Could Lift Cap Size for Special Ed CBS2: A possible vote could lift those limits, and mean that a teacher could have 17 students requiring special attention in a class of 35. That idea scares Laurie Viets, whose 4-year-old son is autistic, and goes to Beard Elementary School on the Northwest Side. The school exclusively serves special needs children.

Safe Passage Worker Hit Woman, Stole Benefits Card: Authorities CBS2: Lashia Brown, 22, has been charged with misdemeanor battery and felony ID theft.  Police confirmed Brown has a prior criminal record that includes possessing a weapon without a Firearm Owners Identification Card, an offense for which she pleaded guilty.

Singing the Praise of CPS Teachers (Despite Everything) Huffington Post (via CPS Chatter):I asked folks if they had any good stories from their schools, and parents were happy to oblige. You know why? Because most folks love their schools. They love the community culture of their schools. They love the opportunities the schools offer. They love the kindness, empathy, and professionalism of their teachers. They love their grant-writing, penny-wringing, hope-clinging principals who never say die.

The betrayal of the Chicago teachers strike: One year on World Socialist Web Site: One year ago, on September 18, 2012, the Chicago Teachers Union(CTU) shut down the nine-day strike by 26,000 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers. The defeat of the strike cleared the way for the acceleration of school closings and other attacks on ...

Pilsen Principal Won't Answer Parent Questions, Blocks Media from Meeting DNAI: Pilsen Community Academy's Adel Ali refused to detail budget cuts at a Local School Council meeting.
The Hidden Truth Behind Teach for America’s Political Empire Salon: At a college-wide block party on Aug. 29, grad students and local teachers passed out leaflets reading, “Why would CEHD partner with an organization that claims that working class students of color do not need well-trained, career teachers?” Several were approached by the dean, who called the leafletting “inappropriate” and threatened to call campus security if they didn’t stop. Via CPS Chatter

NATIONAL

U of M, TFA reach first-of-a-kind teacher-training deal MinnPost: The Twin Cities program will be the first in which TFA’s summer training is conducted in collaboration with a university. The new program will take place at the U of M and will last eight weeks instead of TFA’s customary five.

California takes a left turn on state exams Washington Post: California is on a collision course with the U.S. Department of Education over its plans to suspend standardized tests this school year – a move that Education Secretary Arne Duncan says is wrong-headed.

Once racially troubled, a district shrinks the achievement gap Hechinger Report: On a spring morning at Ossining High School in suburban New York, a group of students gathered in a small classroom at the end of the school’s science hallway. It was a day traditionally known to the senior class as “skip day,” when most of the school’s 12th graders play hooky and head to the beach to celebrate their impending graduation.

Report: Sports causes American students to falter MSNBC (Morning Joe): Author Amanda Ripley explains why high school sports are causing American high schools to fall behind their international counterparts.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • Safe Passage worker arrested and found to have prior criminal history-wow! how shocking-what next? pedophile workers?-the teachers have asked about background checks with finger printing on these workers and the privatized janitors ( these privatized workers are not fingerprinted by CPS and CPS just accepts sloppy background checks without fingerprints by these fly by night companies) in CPS-CPS as usual ignores teachers......

  • In reply to district299reader:

    14 yo Tommy McNeal killed on Friday -- CPS won't say what school http://ht.ly/p5jl2

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Tough questions for MRE about schools and violence from Tribune's @John_Kass http://ht.ly/p5jvV

  • Illinois needs school vouchers - chicagotribune.com http://ht.ly/p3IvU

  • Just so everyone who reads this blog knows ISBE yesterday withdrew from its voting agenda the proposal to lift class size rules for special education. The Board meeting took place in Normal Illinois and I spoke in opposition to the rule elimination proposal as did others from Chicago including parents, teachers, the CTU, Wendy Katten from RYH, and others.

    I do think there will be discussions with school district superintendents and special education administrators about some common sense rule modifications. But as for completely eliminating all of these rules the education management organizations simply do not have the votes to achieve this either at the ISBE level or the Illinois General Assembly level in my opinion.

    There are so many people to thank for their efforts to stop these rule changes that I do not know where to start. I will thank several people first CTU President Lewis for her efforts on this issue and Bev Johns a special educator and long time advocate for disabled children from Jacksonville IL. Several ISBE members played a critical role in stopping these changes, one of the most important was Dr. Hall.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    THANKS ALL!

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Headache299
    And, exactly who are these people who proposed to lift class size rules for special education? You mention Education Management Organizations…which ones?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I wondered the same things. EMO. Doubt they'll go away and give up. Tell more.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Headache299
    There are many EMOs, profit EMOs like Charter Schools USA, Edison Learning, Imagine Schools, and there are many ‘non’ profit EMOs like Responsive Education Solutions, Nobel Network, Concept Schools and UNO.

    The stupid and cruel proposal that was fortunately shot down can be found at

    http://ilraiseyourhand.org/sites/d6clone.ilraiseyourhand.org/files/spedsize.pdf

    Estvan may or may not mention the names of the EMOs that possibly helped with the drafting of this soulless recommendation, but one thing is certain and that is that Christopher Koch, State Superintendent, appointed by Rod Blagojevich in 2006, and then again by Pat Quinn, needs to go.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The Education Management Alliance is a lobbying organization. It is composed of the IL school boards association, the school superintendents association, and the school business managers group. The special education administrators association supported this proposal.

    I could name more organizations if I wanted to. Bu CPS was not one of those groups, CPS took no position on removing these rules. The most critical person other than Superintendent Koch was Roger Eddy a former leading Republican in the IL House and now the head of the school boards association.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Headache299
    If the Special Education Administers Association supported this bill, then President Gineen O’Neil at (708) 687-0900 should be told to step down

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Limits on Special-Ed Class Sizes Retained by State Board of Ed -- For Now - Downtown - DNAinfo.com Chicago http://ht.ly/p7C9L

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    CPS has cross-cat rooms with unbelievable groupings-an example not uncommon in CPS -seven children with severe autism and five with severe cognitive disabilities-in the suburbs the seven children with severe autism have their own classroom......why is this allowed?

  • NYC sitting out move to tie charter, district admissions in Denver, Newark, Chicago, DC | @gothamschools http://ht.ly/p4aDu

  • Thanks to all of those who helped take this ridiculous proposal off the table. The special education class size in CPS is unmanageable and one of the reasons that even with 1,000 teachers laid off, we still have children with disabilities without certified sped teachers. I don't know if you noticed but the TFA and other programs don't even go near our self-contained programs as they are often over the caseload limit, (whatever that is nowadays J-CAR?) have no para support and have violent children who are unmedicated and often attack the other children or the teachers.

    anniesullivan

  • REACH-RETCH-stupid CPS new evaluation system. Because our school did not have enough subs today, thanks to the new CPS substitute port-hole, our principal and assistant had to cover teacher preparations and recess. So two teachers had to have their pre- conferences cancelled which means they have to do it again since the observations will not be until after next week. The university of Chicago study on REACH scratched the surface of how screwed up the CPS implementation of this RETCH process.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I am so confused.....what happened to the pool of laid off teachers/Teacher Quality Pool.

    Shouldn't there be a preponderance of subs due to the 1,000 laid off teachers? They couldn't have all retired-maybe they left. Does anyone know why there is a sub shortage?

    A poster on this blog who is a retired teacher said it took him a year to get into the sub pool-it this still happening?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Headache299
    Nothing to be confused about on the district end. CPS is violating the contract and saving loads of money…and nothing to be confused about on the teacher end either… squeamish teachers are not recording their lost preps; they are not reporting them to their school delegates and therefore the appropriate grievances against central office are not being filed.

    The district is saving money to spend elsewhere; and the children, parents, taxpayers, teachers, principals and neighborhood schools are being cheated wholesale

  • PATs in our school cannot find their ratings. CPS said they were sent, but none have received any email. Also, we are having evaluations conferences next week, but we cannot get on the CPS system to upload our information for the this process. What is going on? Help.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Go check your cps spam email. It's in there. The email is TEACH something. Don't remember it.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    The email you are looking for is titled "From the Talent Office regarding REACH Summary Report"
    It will have the link for the summative report.

  • Is Winkler and her talent management so slow that the email went into spam? No one found their ratings at our school. Cps puts out an incredibly lengthy weekly teacher newsletter. Winkler did not think to put the summative link there? In the business world, missives like this and the failure of the substitute system would get one fired or at least demoted. Yet teachers are held accountable for things they have no control over.
    As for cancelling or postponing REACH--good! If principals cant get to it, that is on CPS, not on teachers. Does not seem CPS is taking REACH seriously now that it 'counts.'

  • Lost my job due to REACH. Not being proficient, but developing. Caseload of 20 plus special education students, spending 20 minutes a day with each group, covering other classrooms because there are no subs, and being forced to do recess duty.
    On top of it, who gives a school-wide REACH testing score and MAP score for special education teachers???????
    Impossible to be proficient in anything in CPS. Alicia and her crew are doing "unsatisfactory" job, but they get to keep theirs.
    Last year was total BS and this year will be harder for everyone.
    Can't rely on the Union for help, they don't have answers and don't seem to invested in what has happened to PATs, other than those who got "unsatisfactory" ratings.
    Watch your step, they'll be rolling over ALL teachers this year!

  • In reply to displacedteach:

    Please excuse my rant, but hopefully this will be the very last time I will ever have to vent about the complete "Clusterf**k" that is CPS. Gotta love the way CPS disrespects those that work for them. I got my "non-renew" in May after only one (maybe 2) observation(s). My suspicion is that my administrator was given the instruction from above that he was to "cull the herd" a bit, but no way to prove it. Pat's make easy targets. Anyway, my observations after that followed the same sort of format - just enough more "basics" than "proficients" to keep me just to the left of "proficient". When I did all of of my Domain 4 things at the end of the year, I busted my butt and documented a huge amount of items for my "professionalism" area (but when that came back in the Reach summative, just more of the same - with no way to fight it. Why am I not surprised?). So in the meantime, when the Teacher Quality Pool came out, I had to get two recommendations from administrators. The one who had evaluated me gave me "Basics", of course, but my other reference ( the principal of a major suburban high school) gave me all "Excellent" or "Distinguished" or whatever the top level is). That's interesting, especially when I could have gone to a number of other previous supervisors and gotten the same sort of superior recommendations! So after then being interviewed (if you can call it that) by a TQP "administrator" (who sounded like a kid fresh out of school), I was admitted to this illustrious "Teacher Quality Pool". I guess that meant I was a "quality" candidate, even though some CPS "administrator" might think otherwise. By the way, I am not a "beginner", having more than 20 very successful years of experience in the classroom (with the super references to prove it. I know i am really good at this, and others do too), just not in CPS. Early on, I knew that there was no way I was going to teach in CPS again - why would I even want to? But I did want to see what my Reach evaluation would come to in it's final version. Love how they couldn't give these out until way after the new school year began. Love how they shut off my CPS email at the end of Aug., after they had pointedly said to watch my CPS email for the Reach evaluation coming in Sept. Love how a really good (20+ year) veteran teacher (but relatively cheap, considering I was only on step 3 on the pay scale) can come away from the entire experience with such bad feelings. Not real happy with CTU through the whole process either, as they've basically been of zero value. My only advice for my "brothers and sisters" with whom I shared the picket line with last fall is that they should get ready - they are coming for you next, and this REACH evaluation system can AND WILL be twisted to screw you too!!!!!

  • How can a sped teacher follow the IEPs when she has 45 minutes a day of recess supervision? Who did CPS think was going to supervise students? State law says a "certified" (licensed) employee must be with children at all times. Parents can assist the certified employee-janitors, security guards and aides are not certified/licensed. Sped teachers who are not assigned to self-contained rooms are being misused-the clinicians are not, probably because they bill Medicare. I really can't blame the principals as they are looking at the safety issue but CPS certainly is aware of this problem and has done nothing to address it.

    We have a shortage of subs so sped teacher are asked to sub when a teacher is absent. We did not have this shortage when CPS had a cadre pool who reported to the schools daily. If no one was absent at the assigned school then they were sent to another school. If no one was absent(very rare) then they tutored. They were paid more and had individual insurance and because they were assigned to one school became familiar with the students. Subs knew they were employed everyday for a year and the insurance was an incentive. This was a great system and we need to revisit it. The new automated system is very good but it cannot make up for a shortage of substitutes. Sped teachers are required by law to deliver the minutes on the IEP and really how can a sped teacher be evaluated on student progress when he/she spends one or two days out of ten subbing?
    anniesullivan

Leave a comment