"Protest" Coverage Wearing Thin

"Protest" Coverage Wearing Thin

Today's coverage focuses on protests against possible charter expansion (again), which makes me wonder (again) whether local news outlets will ever go into some of the overcrowded and/or under-performing schools like Prosser in areas that might get charters and tell us a little about why parents might want to pick another option for their children.

There's also presumably good news that ISBE backed off removing limits on special ed class sizes, and a long story from Hechinger Report about the struggles some schools and teachers have had with budget cuts and longer school days without additional resources.

Reading the Hechinger story, you'd think that there were no schools making good use of the extra time, or that the extra time was somehow tainted or unproductive across the board.

As with charter protests, the coverage of the pushback against the changes has eclipsed the coverage of what the situation was like before and the possible and real good that is presumably coming from the changes in many if not most places.

Elsewhere, Cuomo and de Blasio disagree about how to pay for universal preschool in New York, and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman thinks Arne Duncan should be President (sort of).

CHARTERS

Protests planned as Chicago's school board considers adding more charter schools WBEZ: Charter school opponents are gearing up for multiple protests—including an overnight vigil Tuesday sponsored by the Chicago Teachers Union—as Chicago’s school board considers adding more charter schools to its portfolio.

Charter Opponents Rally Support Ahead of Board of Education Vote DNA Info: Chicago Public Schools was set to vote on 17 proposed new charters.

CTU, parents sleep outside CPS HQ to protest charter schools CLTV: Several protesters are taking on the cold in order to fight against more charter schools in Chicago. Teachers’ union members and parents slept outside CPS headquarters in the Loop. They stayed in the zero degree weather before they could go to a school board meeting this morning.

Editorial: CPS needs more high-quality charter schools Tribune: There is a huge need for charters in many areas, where students are packed in overcrowded classrooms, in poorly performing schools.

Bring on more charter schools Tribune (oped): Public education is at a crossroads in Chicago. The Chicago Board of Education will vote Wednesday on proposals to establish as many as 17 new charter school campuses.

CLASS SIZES / BUDGET CUTS

State Board Of Ed Abandons Plan To Increase Special Ed Class Sizes Progress IL: “The rule process is such that these proposed rules will expire and at this point in time, we don’t expect to move forward with an entire set of new rules but will try to work on giving districts flexibility so that all students can have access to the most rigorous classes,” an ISBE spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times.

A longer school day in Chicago, but with what missing? Hechinger Report: Today, the country’s third-largest school system is still giving its 400,000 students more time to learn, but it is no longer giving more money. In fact, it is operating with fewer teachers and support staff than it was before the longer day began.

NATIONAL

Gov. Proposes One Way to Fund Pre-K, Mayor Sticks to Another WNYC: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget includes $1.5 billion for expanding pre-kindergarten programs statewide over five years. While that's an increase over previous budgets, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that's not enough to avoid a tax increase on New York City's wealthiest residents, ensuring further tension between the two leaders.

ALSO: Cuomo’s Pre-K Plans Set Up Tax Conflict With de Blasio (NYT)

Cuomo's Education Vision, In Dollars WNYC: Some groups are happy; others are questioning exactly how far these dollar amounts will stretch. Here's a breakdown of some education highlights from the governor's proposal, starting with the immediate future -- the next fiscal year.

Obama's Homework Assignment NYT (Friedman): President Obama: will deliver his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, but, for my money, his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, already gave it.

At 50, Michelle Obama uses life story to promote education initiative Chicago Tribune: When she was in high school and eyeing Princeton University as a college destination, MichelleObama said, counselors warned her she was too ambitious. "They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton,"

Immense Unease Over Advertisers Nabbing Student Data: Poll HuffPost: Ninety-five percent of school districts in the U.S. rely on cloud computing, storing data on remote servers connected to the Internet, according to recent report from the Fordham University School of Law.

Elementary Math Instruction Gets a Makeover KQED: Memorizing math in elementary school is no longer going to be enough to get a good grade. New standards called Common Core require kids prove they understand math concepts and strategies -- and that means the way math is taught will have to change as well.

One Killed, Suspect In Custody In Purdue University Shooting NPR: Police have declared the campus of Purdue University safe, hours after a shooting in a school building alarmed students and sparked a partial evacuation order Tuesday afternoon.

OTHER CITIES

In Washington area, school days to be added to academic calendar after snow closings WashPost: In Virginia, Maryland and the District, students are required to attend school for 180 days each year, and school districts must add days to the academic calendar in the event that inclement weather cancels classes. Although most school systems build in buffers, schools in Fairfax County and the District, for example, already are adding days to the school calendar one month into winter.

D.C. teachers union files grievance with school system over erroneous evaluations Washington Post: The Washington Teachers’ Union has filed a class-action grievance with D.C. Public Schools in the wake of therecent disclosure that 44 teachers received erroneous performance ratings last year, including one who was wrongly fired as a result.

School without Regents exams says mayor should spread its model ChalkbeatNY: The consortium is a longstanding coalition of 28 high schools (all but two are in the city) with state waivers that allow their students to complete intensive projects rather than take the Regents exams (except for English, which they still must pass).

With 3 seats likely open, Minneapolis School Board could see shift in dynamics MinnPost: The announcement over the weekend that Alberto Monserrate will not seek re-election brings to three the likely number of this Minneapolis School Board races with no incumbent. Suddenly, the balance of power on the sharply divided nine-member body is anybody’s guess.

 

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    So, you don't like the coverage of protests against charters. Lots of us don't like the coverage that suggests charters are always superior to public schools despite charters not having LSCs or not having to publicize all of their test scores or their financial information. You cite Prosser as being either overcrowded or underperforming, it is not clear which. If overcrowdwed then why not expand capacity? If underperforming then please show how Noble St. would be superior despite having no art or music and basically being an authoritarian test prep factory. Charters in Chicago don't have to play by the rules and are very often up to financial shenanigans. They are more trouble than solution. How about passing a law that requires them to make their financial information more transparent, like CPS schools?

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Ed, let me help you out with a quote from the Noble Pritzker web site:

    "The Pritzker College Prep Music Department currently serves 220 students in band, and 250 students in choir. Approximately 95% of the students in this program have had no prior musical experience. Regardless, they have already won several "Superior" and "Excellent" ratings in festival and competition. On March 6th, 2011, our jazz combo and jazz ensemble were ranked 5th and 6th in Berklee College of Music's national jazz festival."

    I doubt Pritzker has more than 600 students.

    Noble probably doesn't have music at every school, but when they do something they do it well. They certainly have art programs at all schools.

    You do know perfectly well that these classes at some CTU schools are just a sad excuse for an arts program.

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    Please read "The Truth About Charters." http://www.salon.com/2014/01/10/the_truth_about_charter_schools_padded_cells_corruption_lousy_instruction_and_worse_results/

  • Alexander I would recommend that you look at Prosser’s data at http://schoolreports.cps.edu/SchoolProgressReport_Eng/609679_PROSSER_HS.pdf

    There is no question that Prosser on a number of measurements, student growth, and attainment at Prosser are below average compared to schools nationally. However, in comparison to CPS as a whole average student growth between fall and spring on ACT’s EPAS series is slightly better than most non-selective CPS high schools. For example Prosser is easily out performing Amundsen even though they are both in theory level 2 schools, it is doing overall better than Kelly, or Steinmetz. There is no reason to trash Prosser.

    Other indicators such as the 2013 average ACT score of 18.3 are above the CPS average of CPS Average 17.6.

    Overall Prosser is performing about the same as Noble Street’s Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy, and slightly worse than Noble Street’s Johnson College Prep. Prosser’s performance is lower than the other Noble campuses to be sure.

    If I were to provide a critique of Prosser it would be that its vocational programs are now far from being state of the art. I would like to see a major upgrading in that area, one that would allow more students to have the option to quickly enter the workforce without additional vocational training at post-secondary programs like DeVry University, Lincoln Tech, or Environmental Technical Institute campuses. The ATG program at Prosser is designed as an extracurricular activity and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at the school really still are going to require students to go to a private for profit tech school in order to get job placement. Programs like Lincoln Tech or ETI are not cheap and most students need to take out loans for those programs. The problems with tech programs at Prosser are largely the school district’s funding problems in relation to vocational/technical education.

    Noble offers zero in terms of vocational programs and unless the student succeeds in college actual technical job skills passed on from its programs are minimal. Many CPS students are in a situation where they need rapid access to employment once they graduate, in fact some need to start supporting their families who are economically struggling. It would be nice if college were for everyone, but currently in America its not. It's also not fair that my children had a college option without fiscal pressure placed on them just like Alexander's family could do for him, or members of the CPS Board can do for their children. But saying its unfair doesn't fix the problem that some CPS students face immediately post high school graduation.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    The problem with Rod's high optimistic assessment of Prossers performance is that most Belmont-Cragin parent disagree. It's a high drama school with doesn't get nearly enough relatively high scoring freshmen ready for college.

    Prosser's freshmen with an EPAS of about 15 is high compared to most Noble schools. Those students will do well at Noble, which is probably why the new school is planned for 900 students. (I believe the largest Noble is Chicago Bulls, which is about 1000 students. This new Noble will probably be second largest).

    The new Noble will likely become considerably larger than Prosser because that's where parents want their children. If parents find Prossers as desirable as Rod indicates then the new Noble will fail.

  • In reply to Donn:

    Won't Prosser just take in the Noble failures?

  • "There were counselors and people who told me that I shouldn't reach that high, that I didn't have what it would take to get into a school like Princeton," [Mrs.] Obama said on a BET program late last year.

    - Doesn't ring true. Just sayin'.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Mrs. Obama's father Frasier Robinson had a well paid job with the Chicago Department of Water, if I recall correctly he was by the end of his career one of the very few African-Americans working at the central water filtration plant near Navy Pier. Her father was a Democratic precinct captain which is how he got is job.

    That doesn't mean at all her family didn't have to struggle, but in many respects given the overall poverty in Chicago's Black community of the late 1970s she was relatively privileged.

    I don't know what Mrs. Obama's test scores looked like when she was a freshman or sophomore at Young so it is possible some counselor told he not to shoot for Princeton. I do know that by sixth grade, Michelle joined a gifted class at Bouchet Academy so she must have had relatively good scores. I do know when Michelle graduated in 1981 she was the salutatorian of her class and her brother already had made it to Princeton. But really she was not a CPS student who came from deep poverty, she was not forced to choose trying to feed her family or going to college.

    Rod Estvan

  • Michelle was in the National Honor Society at WY and considered a relatively good student. Not sure on her SAT scores, but WY sent a good number of AA grads to Ivies and their ilk.

  • And, in no way do I want to detract from her achievements, but she is spinning a bit of a yarn. Which is sad. Honesty is the best policy.

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