Charters, Daily PE, & Class Size

Charters, Daily PE, & Class Size

Lots of news: A proposed new PE program (and TIF funding to pay for it), Board consideration of new charter proposals, the ongoing class size limits saga downstate, and Rahm's MLK Day.  Check it all out below, plus news from other cities and around the country. Follow breaking news during the day here (in comments) or via Twitter (@district299).


CPS Physical Education: District Proposes Adding Daily Gym Classes To Meet State Mandate HuffPost: The proposal calls for 30 minutes of daily gym class at elementary schools districtwide and an average of 42 minutes for high schools.

CPS to use TIF funds for teachers Tribune: Chicago Public Schools said it will tap into $21.5 million in surplus tax increment financing funds to hire extra teachers for arts and daily physical education classes.


CPS to hear new charter school proposals Tribune: The latest round of charter school expansion in Chicago has been met with a long string of protests by parents and community leaders who question Chicago Public Schools' claims that it is pushing charters primarily for neighborhoods where classrooms are...

Eight charter proposals slated for vote Catalyst: All but one of nine charter school proposals is on the Chicago Board of Education agenda for consideration with CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett not indicating which ones she thinks should get the go-ahead. This is a break from the past when district officials recommended proposals for approval or denial, not just consideration, and the board always followed the lead of district officials.

9 things the mayor doesn't want you to know about charter expansion in Chicago Chicago Public Fools: Most of us have probably forgotten, but we were promised by the mayor's closer, Barbara Byrd Bennett, that no closed schools would be replaced by charters.


Teachers, parents fear proposal to lift class-size limits will hurt special ed ... Sun Times: We've seen over and over how CPS does not work within the best interests of our students,” said Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis. She noted that this year's CPS budget included severe cuts in services for special ed students.

State board to vote again on class size limits for special ed students Catalyst: Since the change was first proposed, Chicago Public Schools has been released from a consent decree that had governed the district’s special education policy, meaning the rule changes would now apply fully to the district. If approved, the proposal would go to a legislative committee before becoming law, says state board spokeswoman Mary Fergus.


Study: Pension savings 'barely dent' Illinois fiscal woes WBEZ: Savings from the controversial pension overhaul will “barely dent” Illinois’ budget shortfalls over the next decade, according to a new study released Tuesday by researchers at the University of Illinois.

Rahm Joins Students, Volunteers at Sullivan High's MLK Jr. Day of Service DNA Info: More than 700 people painted murals throughout Sullivan and neighboring Kilmer Elementary School.

Activist Who Heckled Rahm Says Mayor ‘Hypocritical’ About MLK NBC News: Simmons, who has engaged in activism around education in Chicago in the past and who has a daughter attending a CPS school, tried to mobilize like-minded folks for a protest outside of the event’s hotel on Michigan Avenue. When that didn't work, she decided basically to attend on her own.

The Second Lives Of 'Stuff' In Chicago Public Schools NPR: In 2013, the Chicago Public Schools decided to close some 50 schools to save money and consolidate resources. In recent months, the system has been emptying out those buildings, creating a giant collection of reusable materials, from textbooks to Bunsen burners, to desks and chairs.


A Look at Ideas for Using State Budget Surpluses AP: Governors and lawmakers are putting forth a variety of proposals for the extra money, including cutting taxes, increasing spending and fortifying savings accounts. [CA, MI, MN, MO, NY]

The Budget Deal's Teacher-Quality Programs: Winners and Losers Teacher Beat: Find out how the federal teacher programs fared in the recently completed budget deal.

Bill & Melinda Gates: Myths Blocking Progress for the Poor WNYC: Since launching their eponymous foundation in 2000, Bill and Melinda Gates have granted nearly $30 billion to organizations and individuals working to eradicate poverty across the world.

New study: High-quality preschool for poor kids under 3 would eliminate achievement gap MinnPost: Talk about your cost-benefit analysis: A newly published study co-authored by a University of Minnesota labor economist predicts that providing full-time, high-quality preschool to impoverished children under the age of 3 could entirely eliminate the achievement gap.


US Education Secretary Arne Duncan to visit Hartford The Republic: He is scheduled to visit University High School of Science and Engineering for a town hall meeting on improving access to a college education.

More Than 130 Philly Educators Implicated in Cheating, Officials Say NBC News: After more than two years of investigations by both the state and the School District, 138 Philadelphia educators have been implicated in test score cheating.

Court ruling in New Orleans could have big consequences for the city’s schools Hechinger Report: Last week’s Louisiana appeals court ruling that the New Orleans school board improperly dismissed thousands of teachers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina vindicated the fired educators and their supporters.

Fairfax schools will be closed Tuesday; snow day to be made up on Presidents’ Day, Feb. 17 Washington Post: The good news for Fairfax County students and teachers is that school will be closed Tuesday as weather forecasters call for a thick blanket of snow to cover the Washington region.

Texas school finance case heads back to court AP: Nearly a year after determining the system Texas uses to finance public education is unconstitutional, a state judge is set to hear new testimony beginning Tuesday on whether more money and fewer standardized tests have adequately improved the balance for students in rich and poor areas....

D.C. schools change IMPACT evaluations for principals Washington Post: D.C. Public Schools officials have changed how they evaluate principals in response to complaints that the previous system — which rated more than half of the city’s principals below

Special election could tip balance on L.A. school board LA Times: A vigorous and strategic successor to Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte could either pose a hurdle to Supt. John Deasy or steer a board majority back toward a more supportive, ancillary role.


Common Core standards bring dramatic changes to elementary school math EdSource Today: While the old standards were often criticized for an excessive reliance on memorizing certain facts or procedures, the new standards routinely call for students to solve problems that require a strong grasp of mathematical concepts and to explain their reasoning.

School District: Advanced Students Won''t Get Left Behind by Common Core NBC San Diego: In San Diego, Calif., school administrators are reassuring parents that the structure of math classes from 6th to 12th grades will not be affected in terms of gaining college credit or being on the path to having Calculus by junior year.

Arapahoe Death Threats, Warnings Ignored, Says HS Security Guard ABC News: A security guard says he warned administrators for months that Karl Pierson, a teenage gunman who shot and killed a classmate at a Colorado high school last month, was dangerous and had threatened to murder the teacher he targeted on the day of the shooting.


Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • Has anyone else tried to use new Schoolnet online CPS Quarter 2 Benchmark Literacy exams? I'm using the Grade 10 exam. When I enter scores into CIM the system only saves some entries, and it isn't consitent about which ones. For some students grades enter by drop-down selections are not saved, for other students, grades entered by clicking on radio buttons are not saved. And on some questions where more than one answer is listed as possibly correct, it gives students a zero. The exam itself has 12 separate grades for a one-paragraph essay. Amazing! Manufacturing data where there is none. That's 48 points of the 60 or so points on the test. And then, the hard copy scoresheet allows for only 0 or 1 point on question 2, whereas there are two possible points for that question.

  • here's the press release from CPS about PE:

    CPS Expands Students’ Access to PE and the Arts
    CPS Leverages TIF Surplus to Allow District to Hire Nearly 170 Teachers, Increasing Exposure to Arts and PE Across the City

    CHICAGO—Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced it will leverage $21.5 million in TIF surplus funds over the next two years to hire teachers who can assist with arts and physical education (PE) programs for schools across the city.

    The funds will help level the playing field for each and every child, ensuring that students in every area of the city have access to a well-rounded education. CPS’ TIF surplus will partially fund positions for 168 full time teachers: 84 art teachers and 84 PE teachers in School Year 2014-2015 (SY 14-15).

    "Arts and physical education are fundamentally important to a child's ability to learn and grow, and are critical components of a well-rounded, 21st century education,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. "By incorporating more robust arts and physical education programming into the daily curriculum, we will help boost student achievement, while also placing our students on the right track for healthy living and bright futures in college, career and life."

    Making exercise and arts complementary to the core subjects boosts student achievement and helps prepare children for success not just in the classroom, but in life. In order to meet the goal of every student graduating 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound, all students need access to a full school day and full school year that makes time for arithmetic and the arts, reading as well as recess..

    The TIF surplus funds are designed to ensure that all schools have access to both arts and PE teachers in order to meet the following requirements over the next three years:
    For students in grades K- 8, 120 minutes of arts instruction each week.
    For high school students, a graduation requirement of two arts credits, as outlined in the District’s new Arts Education Plan.
    A new District-wide PE policy requiring that all high schools provide daily physical education.
    TIF funds will support the District’s new Arts Plan, the only plan in the country that offers an arts liaison for every high school, and all schools with targeted supports to advance in the arts and a data-driven system to track progress.

    The funds will also allow CPS to help schools align with a new district-wide PE policy, ensuring that every high school meets requirements for physical education and tripling the amount of time elementary school students spend exercising.

    Despite a billion-dollar budget deficit, the District has made every effort to keep cuts out of the classroom. However, principals often have to make difficult decisions about where to spend their limited resources.

    TIF funds are being made available to schools in SY14-15 to supplement education initiatives through 2016. In order to benefit from these surplus funds, schools will be required to submit action plans that will determine funding allocations over the next two school years. The District will continue to support principals and teachers at schools that have received funding to ensure the sustainability and success of the program, and ultimately the success of students.

    By providing schools with this initial investment to supplement teacher salaries, and on-going professional development, the District aims to create a stronger educational model that will support access to a high-quality, well-rounded education for years to come.

  • The class size proposal before ISBE was withdrawn and will not be voted on. Dr. Koch also informed supporters of the proposal, almost exclusively education administrators, that the proposal was now dead.

    Rod Estvan

  • Good news! Thank God !

    Now CPS needs to have classrooms for autistic children only and follow the class size/workload guidelines instead of labeling hundreds of rooms "cross cat" and dumping in children with autism, Cross cat rooms can have 16 with a para which is way too many students especially if half the class is filled with children with autism but it does save the expense of a teaching position. There is a high safety issue going on here.
    There is also plus a mislabeling issue. Someone needs to check the data and find out how many students who are labeled LD at the initial and years later are relabeled autistic or cognitively disabled-this saves staffing monies as high incidence such as LD can be in inclusion programs with 24 other students.

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