Pensions, Protests, Politics!

Pensions, Protests, Politics!

Lots of news on this cold Tuesday morning, including the Monday announcement that CPS was going to make computer science (programming) a core subject over the next five years, plus the Monday protests/rallies and the "what next?" on Chicago teachers pension changes. Sun Times columnist Mark Brown writes about the elected school board referendum that's not going to get a vote.  There's also a long AP story about closings and welcoming schools.

CODING FOR EVERYONE

CPS to make computer science a core subject Sun Times: More Chicago Public Schools students will be taking computer science courses through a plan to be announced Monday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. The new five-year plan will elevate computer science from an elective to ...

CPS making computer science core subject Tribune: In order to prepare our children for careers in the 21st century, we've increased access to high-quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs throughout the district," said district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

REFERENDUM

Referendum on elected school board kept off March ballot Chicago Sun-Times: CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett address the Chicago Public School Board of Education prior the board vote on closing 50 Chicago public school at Chicago Public School headquarters May 22, 2013.

City so opposed to elected school board, it must be a good idea: Brown Sun Times: I’ve never been a big fan of advisory referendums, regarding them as mostly a waste of time for voters. Nobody in power has to pay attention to the results, and usually they don’t. Prior to last spring’s unanimous vote by the Board of Education in favor of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s mass school closing, I wasn’t sold on the idea Chicago needed to start electing its school board members either. It’s not as if everyone is all that satisfied with the public officials they already elect.

PARENTS

CPS Application Deadline for Magnet, Selective Enrollment Schools is Friday DNAI: Chicago Public Schools say now is the time to apply for the 2014-2015 school year.

Controversial Illinois school poll tells what students and teachers really think Tribune: Across Illinois, sixth- through 12th-graders were asked some simple but revealing questions on a statewide survey: Does your teacher ask difficult questions in class? What about on tests? Their answers were an eye-opener, with nearly 50 percent —
TEACHERS

CPS Protesters Deliver Candy Canes, Coal to Nice, Naughty Aldermen, Mayor DNAI: Parents, students and teachers demanded TIF funds, an elected school board and a moratorium on charters.

Pension Crisis Endangers Chicago's Future NBC Chicago: Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, said the union fully expects a bill that will solve the problem "on the backs of working people." He warned the Legislature should prepare for protests on the scale of those in Wisconsin

After state reform, what's next for Chicago pensions? WBEZ: After last weeks historic state pension deal, the focus shifts to Chicago. WBEZ political reporter Alex Keefe discusses possible solutions and challenges.

MISC

Chicago Photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz Launches Kickstarter For Book Documenting Youth Violence HuffPost: The book, which he described as the "denouement" of his project, is set to feature "The Interrupters" producer Alex Kotlowitz's interview with Ortiz, as well as essays and interviews with Chicago parents, students and teachers that aim to "humanize the victims, survivors, perpetrators, friends and family of those irrevocably affected by the scourge of youth violence."

Chicago schools, students cope with closings Northwest Herald: Chicago schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has promised repeatedly that these closures would save money but still get students better access to libraries, technology and science labs, art and music rooms, as well as social services and counseling.

NATIONAL

United Federation of Teachers boss praises Bill de Blasio's school chancellor ... New York Daily News: But Mulgrew offered a less-than-sterling review for Chicago schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Obviously, the closing of 52 schools in Chicago is a problem, since closing schools in New York City is an issue,” he said.

As student, Obama drew inspiration from Mandela Boston Globe: But as Obama prepares to honor Mandela at a memorial service Tuesday in South Africa, people close to the U.S. president say he is well-aware that his rapid rise through America's political ranks pales in comparison to Mandela's 27 years in prison.

Ed Dept. Official: Other Countries Beating U.S. at Own Game PoliticsK12: During a conversation with state legislators at the National Conference of State Legislature's forum in Washington on Dec. 6, acting U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education  James H. Shelton argued that it was "mythology" to say that the U.S. had truly "fallen behind" in terms of actual educational performance.

Teacher Training in Classroom Management Is Insufficient, NCTQ Finds TeacherBeat: A new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality finds fault with how teacher colleges approach instruction on classroom management.

Newtown Massacre Prompts More Vigilance in Schools and Elsewhere NYT: In Fairfield, Conn., and other towns there have been notable security changes, like more armed officers and surveillance cameras.

Reflections from people close to Newtown tragedy AP: Reflections from people connected to the shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 first-graders and six educators died....

Teachers Union Holding Vigils for 260 'Housed' Members LA School Report: While American Federation of Teachers affiliates are holding a “National Day of Action” today, UTLA is planning four vigils in support of “housed” LA Unified teachers, those caught between allegations of misconduct and final rulings on their employment status.

What Do Those School Grades Really Show? WNYC: Progress reports without a grade. That’s what Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio proposed during the campaign and it led SchoolBook to wonder: what are all those numbers behind the grades and what can we learn from them going forward?

Spelman College charts a new path by encouraging women in STEM studies PBS: Today, Spelman's Beverly Daniel Tatum became one of four college presidents and the first from a historically black institution to receive the Carnegie Corporation's annual Academic Leadership Award. The foundation cited her work in encouraging women to pursue careers in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math and for her decision to drop intercollegiate sports in favor of student health.

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  • Pension cuts in an era of robber barons - Chicago Sun-Times http://ht.ly/rLCT2 @ctulocal1's Lewis decries pension fixes

  • "Half of all teachers leave the profession without a pension."http://ht.ly/rPaXV New site funded by Joyce & Arnold

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