Neighborhood Fair, "Suburban Moms"

Neighborhood Fair, "Suburban Moms"

Today's news includes stories about this weekend's neighborhood schools fair (did you go?) and the implications of the Park District pension deal (would it work for CPS?). National news includes Arne Duncan comments about "white suburban moms" that angered Common Core critics (white suburban moms?). In comments, readers  are talking about why Trumbull was closed and what will happen to the building next.


Moms Organize Fair Touting Neighborhood School Extracurriculars DNAI Chicago:Parents, students and teachers met at Roberto Clemente High School Saturday for a neighborhood schools fair, which aimed to tout programs and services offered by neighborhood schools across the city. The event was spearheaded by 13 moms who met while protesting Chicago Public Schools' decision to close 50 schools earlier this year.

CPS parents plan fair to promote neighborhood schools Sun Times: Inspired by the closing of dozens of Chicago neighborhood schools, a group of volunteer parents decided it’s time to showcase what they say are the “hearts of communities.” On Saturday, nearly 60 Chicago Public Schools elementary and high schools will gather and promote their programs at the first ever Neighborhood Schools Fair, organizers said.


Chicago park district's pension reform could be statewide test case The Dome: As pressure mounts on Illinois lawmakers to solve the state's pension crisis, the passage of reforms for Chicago park district employees is being held up as an example of a cooperative approach, even as it poses a dilemma for Gov. Pat Quinn, a vocal supporter of reform.

Emanuel, police union clash during contract talks Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made an opening contract offer to Chicago police, the union says it’s an insult and the two sides continue to head down a path that could end with arbitration.

How Chicago debt exploded Tribune: "Sixty years ago, it was hard to find people who doubted that each generation would be larger than the last. ... (G)overnments and employers built optimistic growth projections into their pension programs. They assumed that revenue and the workforce would...


Prosecutors: CPS building engineer stole two Macs from school Tribune: A 49-year-old Chicago Public Schools employee who allegedly stole two Apple computers from a Chicago Public School two years ago was arrested and charged with the theft after software on the computer led authorities to him.

The war between Chicago's 99% and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. In These Times: The weekend before the board vote, Karen Lewis was reelected president of the Chicago Teachers Union with 80 percent support. Over the next three days, hundreds of parents, students, and teachers marched throughout the city visiting schools to be

A Look Back At How School Kids Helped Buy A Copy Of The Gettysburg Address For Illinois HuffPost: As Tuesday's 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address nears, octogenarians' memories are one of the only links to a children's coin drive in the 1940s that brought a manuscript of Abraham Lincoln's famous speech to Illinois, the president's home state.

Chapman: Head Start and other federal failures Tribune (editorial): When the government shutdown began on Oct. 1, it forced the closing of Head Start facilities in several states, stopping educational services for thousands of low-income kids. So heart-rending was this spectacle that a pair of Texas philanthropists gave $10 million to keep the doors open.


'White moms' remark fuels Common Core clash Politico: Education Secretary Arne Duncan realized fairly quickly that he had stumbled.Two hours later, with those comments sparking outrage on social media, Duncan told POLITICO that he “didn’t say it perfectly.” But he stood by his thesis: To oppose the Common Core is to oppose progress.

Money for new curriculum is out, education firms ready sales pitch KPCC:  State funds for the Common Core transition are unique in that they are largely unregulated.  Even though California passed the  Common Core standards in 2010, it has provided schools little guidance on which of the countless books and other materials out there actually meet those standards. The state typically approves teaching materials.

DC School Vouchers Lack Sufficient Oversight: GAO Report HuffPost: Washington, D.C.'s school voucher program, a political football often caught up in congressional budget battles, suffers from poor oversight, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Friday.

The GED gets a makeover: Will it make for better workers? PBS NewsHour: Twenty-two year old Robert Covington spends a lot of his time at the new haven adult education center. He dropped out of high school when he was 17 and now he’s trying to make up for lost time.


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  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan did not misspeak he said what he believed when he went after white suburban moms. In part his comment reflects the thinking of some white liberals from Hyde Park who somehow believe that they are not white and privileged, but somehow are thoughtful fighters for minorities in America. It is a self serving delusion.

    To target "white suburban moms" as being the core opposition to the implementation of the common core is to argue his own family is somehow exceptional, even though Secretary Duncan is married to a white Australian woman and lives in suburban Arlington County Virginia they are some how made up of the right stuff.

    Arlington County is 63.8% non-Hispanic white and only 8.9% Black. Washington DC is of course 50.1% Black and its public schools are 69% Black, 16% Hispanic, and 11% white. The Duncan's could have been truly exceptional and enrolled their children in a majority Black DC school which most whites don't, but they didn't do that. They did what most white government workers do, they enrolled their children in majority white schools and moved to a majority white community.

    There is greater opposition to the process of implementing the common core than there are with the standards themselves. Duncan doesn't seem to get that at all. Duncan's speech to a gathering of state superintendents of education apparently also included a statement that US children are not just competing against their neighbors, but against “India, China, Singapore and South Korea” for jobs in the global economy.

    I can assure Secretary Duncan that if the US wage level for computer science majors drops to the level of India and China there will be more jobs, but the quality of life of these college graduates will crash. In turn the purchasing power within the US economy will decline.
    A 2011 report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics took a thorough look at hourly manufacturing labor rates in China. It found that these Chinese industrial workers on average were making only $1.36 an hour. Common Core or no Common Core the US can't compete with that and Duncan's comment simply makes no economic sense what so ever.

    Moreover, getting more Americans into college does not solve the economic problems we are faced with in terms of global economics. Currently about 48 percent of employed U.S. college graduates are in jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests requires less than a four-year college education. Eleven percent of employed college graduates are in occupations requiring more than a high-school diploma but less than a bachelor’s, and 37 percent are in occupations requiring no more than a high-school diploma.

    Duncan is a proponent of an ideology that argues that the jobs problem in the US is not a lack of demand for workers but rather a mismatch between workers’ skills and employers’ needs. Another version of the skills mismatch is also being told about the future: we face a future skills shortage, particularly a shortfall of college graduates, after the economy returns to full employment when ever that might be.

    The challenge the United States faces as relatively high unemployment persists, particularly in Black urban communities, is not better education and training for those currently unemployed. The problem is a lack of jobs. The huge increase in wage and income inequality experienced over the last 30 years is not a reflection of a shortfall in the skills and education of the workforce. Rather, workers face a wage deficit, not a skills deficit and their buying power has declined.

    It is hard to find some ever-increasing need for college graduates that is going unmet: college graduates have not seen their real wage rise in 10 years, and the pay gap with high school graduates has not increased in that time period. Maybe white moms are upset because common core or no common core they see the opportunities even for their own children who graduate from college declining. Maybe its Secretary Duncan who is out of touch with reality.

    Rod Estvan

  • "Hyde Park: Black & White united...against the poor." It's been said, with tongue in cheek.

  • my take is that duncan goofed but that opposition to CCSS isn't nearly as big or broad as some might think it to be

    6 Things You Need To Know About Duncan's "Suburban Moms" Remarks

    there's also a good jim broadway SSNS piece about common core and the tea party in IL i'll find the link and post it, too.

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    As I said I don't think masses of parents are opposed to higher standards for their children and even more academic work for them. But going full scale rapidly, causing schools to experience massive drops in their achievement ratings over night, yes people are upset about that.

    Suburban dads are probably as upset as moms, and so are urban parents when they see sudden drop offs. By the way this would include charter school parents. The introduction of the standards could have been done over time and the impact on schools and teaching could have been more easily absorbed. Its too much, too soon. Its shock and awe in the education sector.

    I don't think Duncan goofed he spoke what he really thinks. He is locked into rapid implementation of the Common Core and the opposition especially from the middle class who pay big taxes upsets the apple cart. Mr. Duncan got use to the endless rants of the poor parents in Chicago those can be ignored, but when parents who give money to candidates start complaining well then you have a problem with your project.

    Rod Estvan

  • Thanks for including the article about the new GED test. I didn't realize there were alternatives to the new Pearson version until I saw the video on your link. Sounds like the problem is in implementation -- too fast, too soon -- very much like Rod pointed out being the problem with Common Core. Seems the people caught in the transition periods will be the real losers.

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