Welcome back -- hope you had a good weekend. Today's education news includes lots of back and forth over the proposed Lincoln Elementary annex -- which side are you on? -- plus a WBEZ story about how bad the ISAT schol report card site is, and more on the pick of Vallas to run as Lt. Governor. Oh, and Senn has re-signed Principal Lofton. Nationally: They're suspending kindergartners in Baltimore.
LINCOLN ELEMENTARY [see additional materials at the very bottom]
Overcrowded Lincoln Elementary To Get Three-Story, 19-Classroom Annex DNAI: The plan announced Monday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel will increase capacity at the school by 420 students.
City announces deal to expand Lincoln Elementary School Crain's Chicago Business: But other neighborhoods with crowding problems may well gripe at the prospect of spending $18 million to $20 million on a school with relatively few minority children. And only this fall did ChicagoPublic Schools shut dozens of facilities.
New annex planned for Lincoln Park school where crowding divided ... Chicago Tribune: After an oft-heated community debate over how to solve overcrowding at an elementary school in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, the city said Monday it will build an annex with about 19 classrooms and a multipurpose room on the site of the current school....
REPORT CARDS & TESTING
New Illinois school report cards mean less data WBEZ: Complaints from schools about the missing data are prompting the state to re-publish the prior web site along with the new report card site, which cost $600,000 and took years to develop.
Time to dump the standardized tests Chicago Tribune: I don't often agree with much of what Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, says, but she hit the bull's-eye when she called the standard test blizzard a "destructive national trend." "In general, standardized tests are devised from ...
Fun with Accountability CPS Chatter: As a result of the mathematical genius that is the CPS Office of Accountability, my grade must improve our students’ ISAT reading scores by 21.3 percent over the scores they achieved last year. However, in math we only have to avoid a loss of less than 11.7 percent.
Who saw this coming? Quinn taps Vallas as running mate Tribune: Like just about everyone else, I expected Gov. Pat Quinn to choose an up-and-coming Illinois Democrat to be his running mate — an ethnic minority, a woman or both. The party needs to deepen its bench and reach out to emerging communities if it's...
Archive: Vallas steps down from CPS post Chicago Tribune: Barbara Byrd-Bennett, CEO of the Cleveland public schools, also has been mentioned as a possible candidate. But sources said such a choice would be an unlikely one for Daley, who tends to disdain the educational establishment and prefers homegrown
Quinn flies around state promoting veterans lottery card Chicago Tribune: ... the taxpayer-funded events also get Quinn in front of the cameras and voters just days after he named former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas as his ..
Illinois: Schools Chief Is Quinn Running Mate NYT: Gov. Pat Quinn said that he had selected Paul Vallas, former chief of the Chicago schools and a 2002 candidate for governor, as his running mate for 2014.
High Schoolers Critical Of New CPS Student Advisory Council, Say ... Progress Illinois: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced the creation of a new Student Advisory Council last Friday. The initiative is meant to ...
City hit with 1 more debt downgrade of bonds Chicago Tribune: Fitch analysts also looked at what kind of tax increase it would take to restore to health nine Chicago pension funds, including those for Chicago Public Schools ..
A Hard Road From the Wrong Side of an American City New York Times: Reliable numbers are elusive, but a former senior official in Chicago's public schools said that a “substantial number” of students were “motivated to get a great ...
Senn High School Re-Signs Principal Susan Lofton for Four More Years DNAI: Since Lofton took over in 2010, the school has moved from the bottom tier to the top tier of CPS schools.
US Navy's funding of high schools raises concerns Yahoo News: The first time Miguel Martinez visited a college campus, it was for a summer camp paid for by the US Navy, which is investing millions to improve public education and, ultimately, potential recruits. While cash-strapped school districts are anxious for the help, critics contend that it comes at too high of a cost: the militarization of schools and the indoctrination of the young.
Pre-K suspensions common in Maryland schools BaltSun: Dozens of pre-kindergartners were suspended last school year in Maryland, with the highest number in Baltimore, highlighting a little-known practice that some education experts say is too extreme for toddlers who are just being introduced to educational settings.
Is St. Louis' School Transfer Program 'A Mess?' NPR: Missouri's state Supreme Court says that school districts that lose accreditation must pay for students to go elsewhere, if that's what their parents want. But in St. Louis, the process has opened up complicated questions of race and class. Host Michel Martin delves into the issue.
Activist Claims Win In Tucson's Book Battle HuffPost: Camiliano “Cam” Juarez knocked on more than 37,000 doors in his fight to bring certain books and ideas back into the classrooms of Tucson. His victory, along with that of educator Kristel Ann Foster, shifted the balance of power on the five-member board.
Michelle Obama Edges Into a Policy Role on Higher Education NYT: The first lady, after years of evangelizing exercise and good eating habits, will begin an initiative on Tuesday that seeks to increase the number of low-income students who attend college.
Textbooks Reassess Kennedy, Putting Camelot Under Siege NYT: In the 50 years since his assassination, the image of John F. Kennedy has shifted from tragic hero to flawed leader.
Opinion: How I Helped Teachers Cheat NYT: Students aren’t the only ones who cut corners. Teachers do it, too, and for the exact same reasons.
A Teacher’s View: We Need the Reforms WNYC: I have some news for the professional Common Core–haters: it’s just not true. A recent poll conducted by the National Education Association – the country’s largest teachers’ union – found that about 75 percent of teachers favor the new standards. I am one of those teachers.
Student participation in K-12 online education grows but fewer states run virtual schools and classes;Hechinger: Many large school districts have launched their own online courses. But the data we do have show a steady growth in K-12 students enrolling in full-time online schools or taking individual classes online.
AGAINST LINCOLN ANNEX
Lincoln Elementary hops over 50 other overcrowded schools and gets funding for a new middle school, over the playground!!!
The mayor and alderman Michele Smith have come up with an even worse idea that jamming an unnecessary mega middle school into the CMH site, put it on the playground and eliminate the neighborhood and school gathering place forever. WALE, “the build, build, build crowd” is happy because their main goal was for their addresses to never be removed from the Lincoln district for fear of property values decreasing. The mayor and the alderman have accommodated and appeased those south of Armitage, to the detriment of Lincoln school children and those north of Armitage for the next 100 years.
The drawbacks to this plan are many:
- · Lincoln is still #50 down the list of overcrowded schools and it jumped over many more crowded schools in far worse circumstances. CPS came to our LSC meetings many times over the past year and said they would not fund a Lincoln expansion because it was not an overcrowded school in a cluster of overcrowded schools as many are in CPS, Lincoln instead sits in a sea of 2500 excess CPS seats.
- · Lincoln has one of the smallest foot prints and playgrounds in CPS and adding capacity here is less than optimal for children who attend this school, we have switched one rooftop playcage for another.
- · Alcott which is two blocks away has a large footprint, large playground and is seeking neighborhood children, doing something like transferring Lincoln’s pre IB program to Alcott would have been a no cost solution and would have improved Alcott tremendously without impacting Lincoln, whose test scores are high mostly because of parental income and education. And Lincoln would still retain their green space.
- · Another easy, more logical and greener solution would have been to build onto LaSalle to allow that to be a neighborhood magnet vs a pure magnet school and revert it back into service as a neighborhood school for Old Town, which it was historically. Lincoln’s location in the far NW corner of its district, taking over students once served by LaSalle and Newberry, make it a poor candidate for expansion. Building onto LaSalle makes far more sense, and that is even if one agrees that Lincoln Park needs more capacity, which it does not. However it is a far greener solution with less driving to far NW corner of district and more children having more green space. With this new plan for Lincoln, the green space per child is going to be greatly diminished. In addition, every year there are Old Town residents who want to go to a school within walking distance, their historic neighborhood school LaSalle, and cannot get in. It makes no sense whatsoever to build onto Lincoln if that is the case and there is excess capacity elsewhere in Lincoln Park for out of district kids at other LP schools, ex Alcott has 200 available seats, Mayer 300 available seats, Newberry 100 available seats.
- · There is more than enough capacity for all of the children in Lincoln Park to be accommodated. To take resources from other schools and neighborhoods that truly need overcrowding relief is wasteful and illogical. It makes no sense economically, it is not rational from a future facilities planning aspect, and is not environmentally and educationally optimal to add capacity at Lincoln. Once again Alcott has 200 available seats, Mayer 300 available, Newberry 100, and LaSalle a magnet sits in Lincoln’s district.
Building on to Lincoln only makes sense if you understand what WALE’s goal was, and that was to not be redistricted, which is what happens all of the time elsewhere (and in Lincoln’s past) in CPS. Special rules were just applied to Lincoln that apply nowhere else in CPS.
From: Edward Burnes [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, November 08, 2013 12:51 PM
Subject: Lincoln Elementary/Children's Hospital: One Step Closer to Fiscal Responsibility??
Neighbors: While Alderman Smith has been pushing to build a second Lincoln Elementary School building as part of the Children’s Memorial development (at an estimated cost of $50 million) , only a few blocks away is Alcott Elementary that has over 200 available seats and in the words of Alderman Smith “is a fabulous school”. Why not put some of the money there instead? Why give the Children’s Hospital developer added height and density?
Here is a link to an article in DNAinfo describing the situation at Alcott. http://www.dnainfo.com/
Making this stranger is Alderman Smith’s newsletter of today (below) containing the headline: “One Step Closer to Fiscal Responsibility”.
How is a $50 million middle school taking one step closer to fiscal responsibility?
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Email your views to Mayor Emanuel at: mayor.emanuel@cityofchicago.
- Sign the petition at: http://www.ipetitions.com/
petition/lincoln-park- neighbors-for-responsible- development/
Edward M. Burnes
Michele Smith | 43rd Ward Alderman | 2523 N. Halsted | Chicago | IL | 60614