Weekend Open Discussion

Weekend Open Discussion

Lots of things you might want to talk about this weekend, including the possibility of more CPS closings, the REACH teacher evaluation program, operating under budget cuts this year, or how great or horrible CPS or CTU are.

Or, how about the pair of stories from WBEZ and Catalyst about neighborhood high schools with dwindling enrollments -- whether that's reversible, desirable, or whether they should be closed eventually just like other low-enrollment schools.

Neighborhood high schools struggle to attract students Catalyst: This year, the number of 9th through 12th grade students has increased to about 112,000, but spread among substantially more schools--154, plus 21 small campuses that re-enroll dropouts and operate under the Youth Connection Charter School umbrella. Today, only about a third of high school students attend their neighborhood school, [CPS demographer Jimm Dispensa] says.

Future uncertain for Chicago's neighborhood high schools WBEZ: Many of Chicago’s 50 neighborhood high schools are anchors of their communities. But some city high schools have alarmingly few students enrolled this fall, raising questions about whether neighborhood high schools with long Chicago histories will be able to stay alive in an ever more competitive marketplace.

Back in the day, these schools were the only real option, and had all the electives and activities.  Nowadays, these schools remain open for other reasons, including sentimentality, safety, and ongoing improvement efforts. In some cases there's no substantially better alternative, or not enough room.  But budget pressures and parent choice seem to be trending away from neighborhood high schools, leaving the possibility that they'll be eventually be closed, replaced by smaller district and charter schools in the neighborhood and elsewhere.

Image courtesy WBEZ.


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  • Pay Raises for Teachers With Master’s Under Fire - WSJ.com http://ht.ly/pwxW2 Cost $15b/yr @sbanchero

  • My school lessons, as student and teacher - Chicago Sun-Times http://ht.ly/pwy6o

  • If you are a weak teacher getting a masters will probably not make you a good teacher.

    I went back for my masters in sped so I could be a better teacher to those student in my class of 33 who simply did not learn according to traditional teaching methods. I learned a lot and used it for the rest of my teaching career-It was money well spent (no tuition reimbursement for teachers in CPS) I think I received an extra thousand a year in salary-big deal!

    I do believe CPS got the better end of the deal for this $1000.00 a year as I believe this masters gave me the ability to fine tune my teaching so that my students usually made what was considered "good progress" and some made "exceptional progress" on standardized tests.


  • Why don't ed schools teach sped ed for all teachers in training?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    They do. But it is just one class. If all teachers were required to have full sped training, an education degree would take 6 years to acquire and you'd still need to have just as many teachers doing sped pull out or push in. One teacher cannot meet the needs of 35 regular education students with all their different levels as well as the 3-5 or more students with disabilities. So, while it might be helpful to have sped training, at some point we really do need specialists to do the work. This is the way it works in medicine. Doctors specialize because it makes sense to do so and the same thing can be said for teaching.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    It'd be great if CPS actually deployed the right number of those sped specialists in the right way. But, no. Oh, well.

  • Well, just ask the professors of education when was the last time they actually taught public school children with special needs?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I know one part time professor at National Louis who was a full time special ed teacher in CPS. Bev Johns who teaches special ed classes at the college level at several down state teachers colleges retired only three years ago as a director of a therapeutic day school and sped teacher. At ISU there are several faculty members who taught special ed within the last five years.

    Rod Estvan

  • Forget high stakes testing, what about high stakes attendance? | Marketplace.org @danweissmann http://ht.ly/pxQNG -- Chicago's own Dan Weissmann now on NPR's Marketplace!

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