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.

SNOW DAYS

Schools irk some parents after canceling 4th day in month Tribune: In a ceaselessly challenging winter, Tuesday, for many, was the breaking point. Schools across the area canceled classes for the fourth day in less than a month, and for the second straight day the cause was subzero temperatures and double-digit...

Impact of School Closings Due to Cold Weather Chicago Tonight: How are parents grappling with Chicago Public School closures with no other options for supervising their children? Paris Schutz has the story.

City public schools to reopen Wednesday Sun Times: The mini-vacation is over. Chicago Public Schools are set to reopen Wednesday after being closed Monday and Tuesday due to extreme cold.

CPS Reopening: Classes Resume Wednesday As Temperatures Climb DNA Info: After a two-day closure due to the extreme cold, the district announced school will be back in session.

SAFETY

Report: Chicago Sees 40 Percent Drop In Youth Shooting Incidents Progress IL: The report also found that shootings involving Chicago public school students as of last August through January 21, 2014 decreased 56 percent over the same time period last school year.

SCHOOLS

Emanuel defends new charter schools Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday dismissed criticism aimed at his hand-picked school board’s decision to approve seven new charter schools after it shuttered 47 neighborhood schools last year, saying they’re two separate issues.

Rahm's school board and the teachers' union actually agree on charter law Reader: An amazing thing happened last Wednesday: the mayor's hand-picked school board momentarily put aside its union-busting agenda to extend an olive branch to Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis.

Could Gordon Tech become DePaul College Prep? Sun Times: There’ll be a meeting about the potential name change at the school on Monday night and it could get tense. Not all are on board with a potential name change for the high school that has been on the Northwest Side since 1952.

BUDGETS

Unions file lawsuit over pension changes WBEZ: The plaintiff in the long-expected suit is the We Are One Illinois Coalition, which includes the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, among others.

Major union group sues to overturn Illinois pension law Tribune: Illinois’ largest government employee unions sued Tuesday to overturn Illinois’ new pension law, ripping the long sought, landmark money-saving changes as outright “theft” from workers that won’t pass a...

MISC

Chicago Public Schools CEO announces Latino Advisory Committee--without any Latino teachers Ray Salazar:  In her January newsletter to teachers, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced a Latino Advisory Committee designed... Despite the fact that the decisions will completely affect the day-to-day instruction carried out by teachers--not one teacher is included on the committee.

NATIONAL

Obama Sells Race to Top, Early-Childhood Education in State of the Union PK12: President Barack Obama placed education at the center of a broad strategy to bolster economic mobility and combat poverty—calling on Congress to approve previously-unveiled initiatives to expand preschool to more 4-year-olds, beef up job-training programs, and make post-secondary education more effective and accessible.

Obama Restates Old Education Commitments In 2014 State Of The Union Address Huffington Post: Instead of announcing new initiatives, Obama mostly expanded on proposals he announced during and since last year's State of the Union address, tying them to his theme of fighting poverty and pushing the country forward despite legislative inaction. Obama promoted a competition to redesign high school, boosting schools' Internet connectivity, and making college more affordable and accessible -- all ideas he has already proposed. See also EdSource.

7,000 Students Stranded Due to Southern Storm ABC News: More than 7,000 students across Georgia and Alabama camped out with teachers in school gyms or on buses and commuters abandoned cars along the highway to seek shelter in churches, fire stations — even grocery stores — after a rare snowstorm left thousands of unaccustomed Southerners frozen in their tracks.

TEACHERS AND CONSERVATIVES

Political Rivals Find Common Ground Over Common Core NPR: The mainstream business wing of the Republican Party strongly backs Common Core, arguing that raising standards is vital to creating the next-generation American workforce. But in an echo of the rifts in the GOP nationally, the Tea Party branch has been critical of the new standards. A small but growing number of liberal reformists have joined conservatives, agreeing on some of the key criticisms.

OTHER CITIES

Md. passes new student disciplinary code Baltimore Sun: After four years of deliberation, the Maryland school board passed new disciplinary regulations Tuesday that will end a zero-tolerance policy that sent home large numbers of boys, special education students and African-Americans for minor infractions.

Estimate for Statewide Pre-K in New York Puts Schools Chief in a Tangle NYT: John B. King Jr., the state education commissioner, told lawmakers that the annual cost of universal prekindergarten would be about $1.6 billion, far more than what the governor has proposed spending.

Vergara lawsuit: Deasy testifies on ‘grossly ineffective’ teachers LA School Report: Under less friendly questioning than earlier in the day, Deasy responded in detail to questions posed by Jim Finberg, attorney for the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers (CFT), who attempted to chip away at the argument that the current tenure and dismissal statutes hurt students, and that removing ineffective teachers is quite possible now.

Columbus, Ohio, School District Hit By Cheating Allegations WSJ: A state investigation of Columbus, Ohio, public schools found a “top-down culture of data manipulation and employee intimidation” in connection with changes to test scores and student grades, officials said Tuesday

Study recommends big increase in D.C. schools funding Washington Post: The District should boost funding for public education by more than 15 percent — or at least $180 million a year — to ensure that schools have the resources they need to improve student achievement, according to a study commissioned by the D.C. government.

Fariña says she “draws the line” when kids get sick over tests ChalkbeatNY: “I don’t want anyone thinking that I don’t believe in high standards and holding kids accountable — because I do — and holding adults accountable,” Fariña responded. “But I draw the line when kids in younger grades or even upper grades throw up in the classroom because of the stress factor, start urinating because of the stress factor."

More remains excavated at Fla. reform school yard AP: The remains of 55 people have been unearthed from a graveyard at a former reform school with a history of abuse, researchers said Tuesday....

Video: Music Teacher Designs Custom Flute for Student NBC News: A Missouri middle school music teacher gets some help to build a custom-designed one-handed flute for student with disabilities.

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