Today's news (besides the cold) includes a story from Catlalyst that the new principal evaluation results are out, plus looming pension fights when the debate turns to Chicago teachers, plus (national) growth in charters, and lots of national news (parents speak out in favor of Common Core in NYC, among other items). Check it out -- let me know what I'm missing. [*Added SUPES training stories from Catalyst]
PRINCIPAL EVALUATION / SUPES TRAINING
Few principals earn top, bottom rating under new evaluation Catalyst: Fewer than 1 percent of principals received the lowest rating of “unsatisfactory.” At the opposite end of the spectrum, just 18 percent of elementary principals and fewer than 7 percent of high school principals were rated “excellent.” This is the first year that principal ratings include student achievement as a factor, a change mandated by state law. Achievement growth among students from “priority groups”— English learners, special education students, Latinos and African Americans—is a separate factor.
SUPES Academy contract under scrutiny of inspector general Catalyst: The IG is investigating the circumstances surrounding the $20 million contract to SUPES, the largest no-bid contract in at least five years. Barbara Byrd-Bennett has previous ties to SUPES, while education administrators who work as consultants for the for-profit business have similar entangled relationships.
SUPES principal training under fire Catalyst: After much grumbling by principals that the expensive training was not worthwhile, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told principals they could opt out of training, asked a committee of principals for suggestions and hired a former colleague from Ohio to oversee the project.
Chicago's Own Pension Crisis Endangers City's Future Huff Post: 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."
Chicago Pursues Deal to Change Pension Funding NYT: This article looks at the City of Chicago’s underfunded pension system following the Illinois General Assembly’s December 3 action on pension reform for the State funds. The Civic Federation said without pension reform, City of Chicago property taxes would need to more than double to accommodate steep increases in the City’s required contributions to its Police, Fire, Municipal and Laborers’ pension funds.
CPS is MIA for Canter meeting Hyde Park Herald: Hamilton-Doyle said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel have said they don't believe in the need for middle schools but Emmanuel sends his children to the University of Chicago Laboratory's middle school
Brutal cold, snow could snarl Wednesday morning commute Sun Times: It’s going to remain cold. Brutally cold, with wind chills of 8 below zero Wednesday. A winter weather advisory was issued for a storm expected to dump two to four inches just in time to potentially snarl your morning rush hour commute
Computers in CPS Tribune: Chicago Public Schools has announced a focus on computer science after getting rid of almost all computer teachers and computers over the last decade since. Bogan High School was a computer tech academy and the computer labs were dismantled.
More kids died from abuse, neglect than DCFS reported, agency says WBEZ: The number of kids who died from abuse or neglect over the past five years in Illinois is higher than the state’s child-welfare agency has reported, according to new figures Tuesday from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The number of deaths in that time is 455, DCFS officials said — which is 11 more than the agency previously reported.
The movie that brought Naperville face to face with its teens' drug use WBEZ: During the 2011-2012 school year, three students from one public high school in west suburban Naperville died from drugs. Kelly McCutcheon was a senior at Neuqua Valley High School at the time, and she started asking her classmates questions about their drug use. The project turned into a documentary that stunned the well-to-do, family-focused community.
Charter Schools Continue Dramatic Growth Despite Controversies HuffPost:The growth is large, percentage-wise, but since some of the numbers started low, the statistics may be overstating the reality. For example, the report found that the number of districts with more than one-fifth of students in a charter school has increased by 350 percent over the last eight years -- but only seven districts had that level of enrollment eight years ago.
New Orleans leads nation in percentage of public charter school enrollment Washington Post: New Orleans led the nation last year as the city with the greatest percentage of students enrolled in public charter schools, followed by Detroit and the District of Columbia, according to a new survey.
Supporters of the Common Core Speak Out WNYC: State education commissioner John King faced a highly supportive audience Tuesday night at his first forum on the Common Core learning standards in New York City. Parents at the Brooklyn forum spoke emotionally about the need for improved instruction and at times recalled their own stories of performing well in high school, only to get to college to need remedial classes or tutoring.
As testing anxiety peaks, student media campaign urges calm Chalkbeat NY: While student aversion to tests is nothing new, the Hudson students’ campaign comes at a moment of high anxiety about testing in New York: grade 3-8 state exams tied to tougher standards caused scores to plummet this year, a new evaluation system for city teachers factors in test scores, and a rule change requiring higher Regents scores to graduate is now fully in effect. Last week, a group of teachers in Brooklyn held a public forum to vent their frustrations.
D.C. teachers event turns raucous, with mayoral candidates drowned out Washington Post: The main point of the whole raucous evening was spelled out on the blue-and-white sign given center stage at Eastern High School on Monday night: ‘Our voices matter,’ it said. Teachers’ voices, it meant.
Budget Deal Could Offer School Districts Relief from Sequestration PoliticsK12: It's unclear at this point what the agreement, if approved by Congress, will mean for individual programs. Congress has until Jan. 15 to craft a final spending bill for fiscal year 2014, which will help school districts set spending levels next fall.
After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought NYT: Large-scale online courses, hailed as a way to democratize higher education, have so far been plagued by very high attrition rates.
To Get Kids Exercising, Schools Are Becoming Creative NPR: An NPR poll finds that most elementary school kids have physical education classes just one or two days a week. In response, parents and educators are getting kids to squeeze in walks, jogs and jumping jacks before, after and even during school.
Parents Worry Schools Overlook Girls Who Aren't College-Bound NPR: In a new poll, parents of girls were more likely to say no when asked if schools were sufficiently preparing students for the world of work. And with many well-paying trades still dominated by men, girls may have a harder time succeeding in the workplace without some kind of higher education.
Walcott Admits Charter School Rollout Could've Been Better WNYC: Walcott pointed to the increase in school options as one of his biggest accomplishments. There are now more than 1,800 public schools, a 50 percent increase since Bloomberg took office.
Two options for L.A. school board in filling Marguerite LaMotte's seat LA Times: The death this week of Los Angeles school board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte will have immediate pragmatic and political implications for L.A. Unified, including the challenge of how to fill her vacant seat.
In A Small Missouri Town, Immigrants Turn To Schools For Help NPR: The once-sleepy tourist town of Noel, Mo., in the heart of the Ozark mountains, is now home to hundreds of immigrants and newly arrived refugees, thanks largely to the huge Tyson Food, Inc., poultry plant. And since the town lacks the infrastructure to serve these new residents, schools have become the de facto safety net.
Missouri School Busing Causes ''Crippling'' Fallout NBC News: School choice law cripples already devastated school districts as students flock to better performing schools.
Filed under: Daily News Roundup