Archive for January 2014

No More Holiday On Lincoln's Birthday?

No More Holiday On Lincoln's Birthday?
Should CPS get rid of Lincoln's Birthday as a holiday, as Tribune columnist Zorn suggests?  Or, should parents move to the suburbs instead, a topic Chicago Parent discusses. Meanwhile, a new teacher training program is coming to town to help train Noble teachers, the pension mess remains a mess, the Sun Times says some folks aren't so mad about the DePaul arena any more, and CPS touts early credit.  Good comments about testing opt outs. National news. Happy lunar new year...

Should Parents Opt Out Of Testing?

Should Parents Opt Out Of Testing?
CPS doesn't want parents to opt their kids out of standardized tests this year, but the letter they sent home to parents about the topic led anti-testing groups to issue a release and from that come stories from Catalyst and the Tribune.  What do you think about parents opting kids out, classroom teachers and parents? National news includes a new regulation from the Obama administration that will allow charters to use weighted lotteries to promote or preserve student diversity (instead of being limited to a single unweighted lottery)...

Let's Talk About LEE

Let's Talk About LEE
Had a chance to read Steve Sawchuk’s recent EdWeek article on LEE, the TFA spinoff that supports alumni who want to become appointees, elected officials, and community organizers (Teach For America Spinoff Helps Alumni Gain Influence)? It’s well worth the time, if only to get a peek at just how fledgling and diffuse the effort... Read more »
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Schools Back In Business

Schools Back In Business
School's open! Good thing, because some parents were at the breaking point. Student safety is better, too, says a new report.  CPS and CTU both hate the state charter commission -- one thing they can agree on. Oh, but the pension deal might be unconstitutional, and IFT has joined a suit against it. Elsewhere: State of the Union, stranded students in the South, another cheating scandal, etc...

Why Can't CPS Buildings Stay Open?

Why Can't CPS Buildings Stay Open?
Today's big news --besides that there's another cold day -- is that schools could otherwise be open for kids and parents who need a warm safe place to stay if it were only allowed under the labor agreement.  (So much for all that concern about kids' safety and the needs of working parents, I guess, and balanced media coverage of CPS and CTU.) Elsewhere, NYC is still debating how to fund preschool, and the big case against teachers' job protections in California is finally underway.  Oh, and the State of the Union speech is tonight...

Intensive Tutoring, Ending ACT

Intensive Tutoring, Ending ACT
School's closed today -- but you knew that already.  Cold! Did you know that the pension fix may not be as robust as original projected, or that the New York Times has taken a look at an intensive tutoring program that's been piloted in Chicago -- should they expand it? -- or that ISBE may cancel the ACT?  Elsewhere, a class action lawsuit against teacher job protections is going forward in California, and state education chiefs nationwide are pledging to protect student data privacy.  All that and more below...
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School Closed Again Monday (WTF?)

School Closed Again Monday (WTF?)
CPS just sent out word that school's going to be closed due to the extreme cold and high winds. See below for the announcement. New York City kept its schools open last week despite cold and snow and saw attendance fall below 50 percent. What do you think? ...

7 Charters Are All That Matter

7 Charters Are All That Matter
Happy Friday! Today brings more commentary about the Board's charter approvals on Wednesday. The Sun-Times, Chicago Mag, CPS Obsessed all weigh in about particular aspects of the process and results. There's also been some interesting back and forth in comments about ILRYH's claims about charter under-enrollment in comments (see previous post) -- still waiting for more details from INCS and CPS...

About ILRYH's 47 Percent Charter Under-Utilization Number

About ILRYH's 47 Percent Charter Under-Utilization Number
IL Raise Your Hand has come out with a news release purporting to show that 47 percent of charters are under-enrolled and there were 11,000 unused charter school seats. Wow.  That's a big number.  No surprise that CTU started using the eye-grabbing statistic as soon as it came out. But wait a minute -- what do CPS and charter school folks say about the number, and how should the media treat ILRYH, anyway...
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Charters: 11 Rejected, 7 Approved

Charters: 11 Rejected, 7 Approved
LOTS of coverage of yesterday's Board meeting . However, it's interesting to note that most of the story headlines focus on the number of charter approvals rather than the mix of approvals and rejections that took place; DNA Info is the only exception I've seen.  DNA Info also has a principal-LSC contract dispute, and there's a second Hechinger Report feature on the longer day and how hard it is on teachers (boo, hoo!).  Elsewhere, attendance was just 47 percent in New York City where the schools were kept open despite the cold...