Lincoln Park, Ames, & Lane Tech

Lincoln Park, Ames, & Lane Tech

Welcome back! Monday's education news includes the new/old debate over a new school in Lincoln Park, ongoing confusion (on my part at least) over WTF is going on at Ames/Marine Academy, and an award for the Lane Tech "Persepolis" ban protestors. National news includes education politics in Colorado, iPad thefts (not just in CPS), and a debate over optimal school size in New York City.


Lincoln Park neighborhood split over proposal for new school Tribune: In the affluent Lincoln Park neighborhood, an overcrowded elementary school has divided residents over whether the problem merits construction of a new building.Some contend wealth, clout are pushing community's needs to the head of the class.


Activists urge action against ‘military coup’ at Logan Square middle school Sun Times: Anna Espinosa wasn’t satisfied just knocking on the doors of Logan Square homes Saturday to ask for support for her plight against the conversion of Ames Middle School into a military academy. So she stopped every person in sight along Armitage Avenue, urging them to call Mayor Rahm Emanuel and top city school officials to stop what she and others called a “military coup at Ames.”

Logan Square parents target alderman over military school WBEZ: Some Logan Square residents are targeting 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado over a decision to convert their neighborhood school to a military academy. Officials now say the current military academy will stay put, and Ames will become Chicago Public Schools’ seventh military high school. It will serve 7th through 12th-graders.


Persepolis' Ban Protest Earns Lane Tech Intellectual Freedom Award DNAI: The Illinois Library Association honored Lane Tech for supporting the free flow of information.

Lane Tech, student book club receive Intellectual Freedom Award Tribune: Lane Tech High School and a small book club of students there have received the Illinois Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Award for their protests against the banning of the book "Persepolis" from Chicago public schools and libraries earlier...]


Mayor: New Southwest Side Elementary Will Fix Overcrowing at Two Schools DNAI: The new school will ease overcrowding at Peck and Pasteur elementary schools, the mayor said.

Shuttered CPS elementary to be home of Chicago High School for the Arts Sun Times: Though Chicago Public Schools officials and Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) say the former Lafayette Elementary School is only one of several buildings under consideration for ChiArts, other City Hall sources described it as a done deal. In the recent school closings, Lafayette was shuttered because of low enrollment. Some in the Lafayette community are questioning why their school was closed only to make room for a new one.


Dramatic shifts seen in ethnic, racial makeup Sun Times: According to new Illinois School Report Card data, 35 Chicago-area school districts have seen changes in the ethnic or racial makeup of their largest group of students in the past 10 years.

Chicago students 'go zombie' to protest public school closures AJA: Chicago Public Schools has not been supporting the students of Chicago lately. Instead of gaining an education these students are risking their lives on dangerous walks to new, more distant schools.
When the hospital must be the classroom Tribune: The veteran Chicago Public Schools teacher is cheery, encouraging yet firm as she drills second-grader Miracle Bates with spelling and math problems from a stack of work sheets.

School Report Card: Payton scores No. 1 spot statewide; Hinsdale Central tops in suburbs Sun Times: For the first time, Walter Payton College Prep ranks as the No. 1 high school in the state, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis of school report card data released Thursday. Hinsdale Central High School claimed the top suburban spot — No. 4 statewide.


Illinois, ACT differ on college-readiness figures Tribune: Less than three months ago, ACT reported that just a quarter of Illinois' 2013 graduates were considered ready for key freshman classes, based on scores on the testing giant's college entrance exam.  At almost every high school in state, Illinois' figure is higher than testing company's, Tribune analysis finds.

School funding pits Chicago vs. downstate The Southern: Back in 1995, Illinois lawmakers passed legislation that guaranteed Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, a certain percentage of state funds from block grants funding programs such as special education.


In Colorado, a Tax Increase Referendum Is Tied to Improving Schools NYT: Voters on Tuesday will be asked to approve a plan to raise $1 billion in additional taxes.

Issue committee attracts national money to Denver board race EdNewsCO: The four candidates for Denver school board who broadly support the district administration’s accountability-based school reform efforts have been out-fundraising their opponents at a rate of three to one.

Koch group, unions battle over Colorado schools race Politico: It isn't often that the Koch brothers' political advocacy group gets involved in local school board races.

Duncan spotlights home visiting, early education in rural Kentucky Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited rural Kentucky on Friday to showcase the benefits of preschool education that starts before birth. Duncan stopped by the home of a family in Whitley County that participates in a home-visiting program for families with infants and toddlers.

Thieves swipe school-issued iPads USA Today: As much-sought-after, and often pricey, tablets and laptops are landing in these young hands, used in a growing number of classrooms, thieves have begun to target schools and students in these communities. Most victimized schools have been like Agua Caliente Elementary in Cathedral City, Calif., which lost a few tablets before security forced burglars to flee. Others, like John B. Drake Elementary School in Chicago, have lost hundreds of iPads in a single break-in.

School Size - Does it Really Matter? WNYC: Many of the new small schools in New York City are having more success preparing students for high school graduation, college and careers than traditional large high schools. But these schools often lack what adults today recall as the highlights of their high school days: extracurricular activities, school plays, sports teams, advanced placement classes, not to mention experienced teachers.

The Smarter You Are, The Stupider You Are NPR: Numbers tell a story. Would you believe that you're less likely to get the story right the smarter you are? Sometimes that's the case and commentator Alva Noë sees this finding as an argument in favor of an education system that trains our children to be good thinkers, not just good calculators.

LA schools use 'Parent College' as tool to boost student achievement PBS: Parental and Community engagement is one of the four primary turnaround strategies to boost test scores and academic achievement in a school population that is 89 percent Latino, where 95-percent are eligible for free and reduced lunch and nearly one in three are English language learners.

Teacher killed in Nevada school shooting honored AP: A Nevada math teacher killed by a 12-year-old student in a school-yard shooting that also wounded two students was remembered for his character, selfless acts and military service at a memorial service Sunday....

Video: Schools institute stricter policies on food allergies TODAY: Schools across the country have accepted stricter policies on handling food allergies, from training in allergy injector pens to providing non-food incentives. The CDC has posted the full advisory on their website.


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  • Thanks to Alexander for linking to the blog two very interesting articles. One was Diane Rado and Alex Richards' Tribune article on how the ISBE modified the ACT's college readiness standards in the new streamlined format report cards. The other was the link to the story "School Size - Does it Really Matter?"

    Both of these stories are of importance to CPS parents and teachers. The skinny on the Rado story is that the ACT college readiness standards require different ACT cut scores for English, Reading, Math, and Science whereas the ISBE has elected to just use a composite score of 21. The Tribune story notes the difference in the outcomes for Illinois schools when the two different approaches are used at particular high schools. I don't think it would be unfair to imply that the Tribune article suggested that the ISBE approach made most schools much better than the ACT approach would have been.

    The article also touches on the issue of whether the ACT test is a valid predictor of the likeliness of a student eventually graduating from college. If you go to ACT's website and look at their studies they clearly indicate from an analytical perspective the benchmarking has significant validity. The Rado article quotes Steve Cordogan, the Arlington Heights-based Township High School District 214's director of research and evaluation who has an interesting comment in the story. "My concern is simply that the benchmarks had no relation to reality, said Cordogan, because even students not meeting benchmarks have been able to survive freshman courses and go on to their sophomore year in college."

    Is it possible that both Cordogan and ACT are correct? Let me explain how that is possible. District 214 is 62.5% white and only 25.5% low income. The ACT in a study by Edgar Sanchez with the very long title "Differential Effects of Using ACT College Readiness Assessment Scores and High School GPA to Predict First-Year College GPA among Racial/Ethnic, Gender, and income groups," reports that white students from higher income families have a greater probability of succeeding in college with lower ACT scores than do minority students and low income students with similar low ACT scores. Sanchez indicates that the Benchmarks have their greatest predictability of GPAs for college students who are minorities and low income.

    To be simple these cut scores might mean more for somewhat lower performing CPS student than for the lower performing student from Arlington Heights.

    In relation to the story on school size I thought that the story totally left out of the analysis any discussion of what are called the economies of scale. It totally focused on the positive aspects of small schools in terms of outcome like graduation rates vs. more extracurricular activities, school plays, sports teams, advanced placement classes, and more experienced teachers in larger schools. In the current world where austerity in terms of education funding the issue of outcomes from small schools vs. economies of scale probably need to be taken into consideration. In the business world or in economics it would be part of a cost benefit analysis.

    So one way to look at let's say Nobel Street charter schools which are all relatively small in scale is could they operate cheaper and more effectively if they were consolidated into a couple of 3,000 student high schools? Or is the critical factor in their success based heavily on their small size? (PS I am avoiding the force out issues intentionally here) This is a big issue facing CPS in relation to charter schools because of the advent of so called equal funding being provided to charters and traditional schools. Because we know based on pure economics larger high school are cheaper to operate than small schools. Therefore on a per student basis Lane Tech High School costs are far lower than for any Nobel Street charter campus (see reports titled General Information in High Schools in CPS Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports).

    These are complex issues relating to small schools that need to be explored as they relate to CPS.

    Rod Estvan

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