Boo! ISAT Scores, Charter Warnings

Boo! ISAT Scores, Charter Warnings

Happy Halloween!? In today's education news roundup, the big news of the day is the release of the new ISAT test score results, reflecting the state's tougher new requirements, but the most media attention goes to the news that CPS has put 5 charters on warning and that Ames parents are out of luck over the military themed program being located in their building.  Plus network offices, state- and national- education news of the day.

TEST SCORES

Steady progress but many CPS students still lagging in math, reading Sun Times: A new and stricter scoring of state standardized tests shows that only about half of Chicago Public Schools children can do math at grade level and just under half can read at grade level, though CPS students continued to make some steady progress across all grades and subjects in a year bookended by disruption.

Payton scores No. 1 spot statewide; Hinsdale Central tops in suburbs Sun Times: For the first time, Payton ranks as the No. 1 high school in the entire state, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of school report card data released Thursday. Payton unseated Northside College Prep from the top spot it has held for 12 years. Payton had been No. 2 and No. 3 in previous years.

CHARTERS WARNED

5 charters schools fail to meet academic standards, put on warning list Chicago Sun-Times: If those schools don't improve their academic performance by June 2014, they could be closed, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told reporters in an afternoon conference call.

New charters added to warning list, many removed from last year's list Tribune: Four privately run charter schools have been put on an academic warning list by Chicago Public Schools and a fifth was kept on the list for a second year, pushing it to the brink of being shut down.

Five charters put on warning list, face potential shut-down Catalyst: Some of the charters took in significant numbers of students from shuttered schools this fall. When Paderewski closed in June, CPS designated Cardenas and Castellanos as welcoming schools. But only 40 percent of the students went to  Cardenas and Castellanos. One group—26 students of 150--ended up at Catalyst-Howland.

Chicago Public Schools puts five charters on notice WBEZ:  Saying that every type of school must be accountable for upholding rigorous academic standards, Chicago Public Schools put five charter schools on its academic warning list. The district first announced the charter academic warning list last February. Since then, five schools were removed from the list. Two charter schools are being phased out due to poor performance. Altogether, fewer than 5 percent of charters are on academic warning.  By comparison, about 40 percent of district-run schools are on probation.

DISPLACEMENT

Marine Military Move to Ames Middle School Defended by Mayor DNAI:  Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it would improve school choice and ease overcrowding.

Parents lose fight to keep military school out WBEZ: A group of Chicago parents lost a year-and-half battle to keep the city from converting their neighborhood middle school to a military academy. At a press conference Tuesday at Marine Math and Science Academy on the West Side, Mayor Rahm Emanuel confirmed that Ames Middle School, in the Logan Square neighborhood, will become a military academy. The mayor’s office originally said Marine would be re-located to the Ames building, but school officials now say Marine is not moving.

Emanuel says Marine Academy to take over Ames School Catalyst: The change, which will effectively result in Ames closing, comes in spite of a CPS pledge not to close any schools for underutilization or academic reasons in the next 5 years. In a fact sheet, the mayor’s office calls the move a change in “academic focus” for Ames and notes that Ames is a Level 3 school that “has consistently been 50 percent underutilized.”

CPS

For the Record: Network offices Catalyst: CPS officials announced Tuesday that they are cutting the number of networks, the mid-level administrative units that work directly with schools. Nearly every administration has reorganized these offices at least once. The new networks will include elementary and high schools in a given geographic area. In the past, high schools and elementary schools were in separate networks or areas. District officials said they are making this move in order to foster more “coherent, continuous delivery of instruction for students.” The move also will save money. Instead of 19 offices with about 16 employees each, the district will have 13 offices and will end up eliminating 79 jobs.

Childhood obesity drops in Chicago kindergarteners WBEZ: Figures released today by the Chicago Department of Public Health suggest that childhood obesity among CPS kindergarteners has dropped by five percentage points, from 24 percent in 2003 to 19.1 percent in 2012.That figure still puts their obesity levels at almost twice the national average (12 percent) for kids their age, and above the average (14 percent) even for low-income kids.

STATEWIDE

Illinois grade school test scores plunge — especially in poor communities Tribune: The push to toughen state exams for Illinois grade school students triggered widespread drops in 2013 scores, with hundreds of schools in some of the state's poorest communities seeing performances plunge, test results show.

2013 Illinois Test Scores: Top 50 schools Sun Times:Analysis by Sun-Times staff reporter Art Golab Use these tables to see which Illinois Elementary, Middle and High schools ranked in the top 50 in standardized testing in 2013.

Illinois Is Among Outliers With No NCLB Waiver EdWeek: Illinois' state law puts teacher-evaluation implementation on a slower track than what federal officials want, leaving the state to languish in waiver purgatory—and forcing more and more districts to fail to meet yearly goals under the outdated NCLB law.

Lawmakers Look to Make Chicago School Funding More Accountable WSILTV: Illinois lawmakers are hoping to force the Chicago Public School system to show how they're spending grant money. It's a process many of them believe lacks accountability and leaves districts in other parts of the state shortchanged.

Which schools have most grade school students with perfect scores? Tribune: It's not unusual to tout the perfect scores of high school students on ACT college entrance exams, but less attention is paid to younger children who ace grade school exams — until now.

NATIONAL

Yes, Your School is Watching You WNYC: The Glendale school district in California is paying a firm over $40,000 to monitor the social media posts of their middle and high school students this school year. The state of Florida recently enacted a cyberbullying law which gives schools the power to investigate the off-campus social media activities of their students.

Mass School Closings a Nationwide Trend NBC: Craig Melvin talks with a Philadelphia family that is experiencing school closings first hand.

Aid for Illegal Immigrant College Students NYT: Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California, said that $5 million would be devoted to providing counseling and financial aid for students living in the country illegally.

 

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