Guzzardi, Rauner Win - Plus STEM

Guzzardi, Rauner Win - Plus STEM

Guzzardi won.  So did Rauner. Travis lost. Rodrigo Sierra (former CPS Board member) is running for LSC at Blaine and InterAmerican. Rahm swears at everyone. CPS is launching a new STEM program (at your school?). Chicago Mag names 12 best neighborhoods for diversity and schools (among other things). Plus national news, and other cities.  Plus comments, and twitter (@district299).

Will Guzzardi beats back machine-backed Toni Berrios in 39th Illinois House race  The remark was a bow to the Chicago Teachers Union and President Karen Lewis. The CTU donated $11,000 to Guzzardi and the victory will send a strong message to those that voted against the interests of organized labor.

Breaking: Christian Mitchell ekes out 26th District win against Jay Travis  Hyde Park Herald: She hugged Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who was sitting at a table in the front of the room, and then went on to greet others. Mitchell won with 52.62 percent of the vote, or 4,790 votes to Travis' 4,313 votes – a 477-vote margin.

At a school that led protests, some interesting candidates for local school council WBEZ: Rodrigo Sierra was handpicked by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011 to serve on the city’s school board. He stayed until the end of 2012, when Emanuel asked him to become a commissioner for the Chicago Housing Authority.

Also: Carol Felsenthal reports that Karen Lewis isn't the only person MRE has cussed out.  Perhaps it's a term of endearment in the Emanual household.


CPS to begin computer science curriculum pilot Catalyst: Chicago Public Schools announced Tuesday that 46 schools will pilot the district’s new computer science curriculum beginning next fall, the most comprehensive K-12 computer science education program of any major school district in the country.

STEM in CPS (Guest post by Caroline Pollock Bilicki) CPS Obsessed: What is the district really trying to achieve by introducing a curriculum that is heavy on science, technology, engineering, and math? Is it trying to get ahead of a projected shortage of qualified candidates in those fields? Does it reflect a need at U.S. colleges and universities to matriculate students who are able to work at advanced levels of math and science, at a rigor that would make them able to “compete” with their global counterparts?


16-year-old girl shot in Pilsen Sun Times: The girl suffered a gunshot wound in the upper chest and shoulder about 4 p.m. while she was walking on the sidewalk in the 1700 block of West 18th Street, police said.

Ames Middle School Referendum Question on Ballot DNA Info: Residents near the school can vote on a nonbinding referendum about the school's future. Charter-school fans may get big win and loss on same day Crain's Chicago Business: CTU President Karen Lewis is a strong believer that charters divert money from regular schools where her members work, and I wouldn't look for that to change.


Colleges mine data on prospective students Tribune: To woo prospective students, many schools are increasingly gathering multiple streams of online information to hone the most personalized pitch. Institutions are turning to "big data" companies such as Hobsons, Oracle and Ellucian to be their The trove of data allows recruiters to mine social media interactions, Internet habits and the socioeconomic standing of a student's parents, experts say.

Chicago’s Best Places to Live Chicago Mag: A guide to the 12 city neighborhoods and 12 suburbs that rank the highest for overall livability—based on solid real estate values, diversity, safety, and access to transportation and quality education.

Leggings stir controversy at Evanston school Chicago Tribune: An Evanston middle school principal sent a letter home to parents Tuesday seeking to calm controversy over a dress code that appears to ban girls from wearing leggings in certain cases — a rule that is under review after some parents complained that ...


As Common Core Tests Approach, So Does A Sea Change In Schools NPR: A new experiment in education begins Tuesday. Early assessments based on the Common Core State Standards will be rolled out and tested in the coming months. Some 3 million students will participate.

Chiefs Press NEA, AFT Leaders on Common-Core Policy Teacher Beat: State chiefs have some tough questions for the the teachers' unions and their recent shifts in position on the common core.

On Race to the Top funds, D.C. stumbles Washington Post: Of the 12 jurisdictions that won the earliest grants under the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program, the District of Columbia has come under extra scrutiny by federal officials concerned about its ability to manage the money.

U.S. Department of Education criticizes Md.'s Race to the Top progress Baltimore Sun: Maryland has faced several challenges in fulfilling its $250 million promise to overhaul the way it educates students and evaluates educators, the U.S. Department of Education reported Wednesday.

Arne Duncan on Who's Winning the Race to the Top PK12: Mostly, states are struggling to implement new evaluation systems linked to student growth on test scores. But the problems go beyond just designing and putting new evaluations into practice. New evaluation systems in Florida and Delaware, for example, resulted in very few meaningful differences in teacher ratings. In essence, nearly everyone in those states turned out to be an effective teacher.

Common Core Creates Opportunities For Publishers WQAMU: New education standards called Common Core are being adopted in 45 states and Washington, D.C. That has created an opportunity for trade publishers.


Los Angeles charter schools record among the biggest learning gains in nation EdSource Today: The release of CREDO’s report came the same week that Los Angeles Unified’s Board of Education modified Superintendent John Deasy’s contract to deter him from encouraging further growth of charters. It set a goal of an annual student enrollment growth of 5 percent – a target that can only be achieved by reversing a decade-long growth in charter schools

Budgets Voted Down In Protest Of Staffing Cuts At Seattle Schools Seattle Public Radio: The staff at 31 Seattle public schools have voted down their schools’ proposed budgets to protest job cuts the district is calling for this fall. Ingraham High School administrative secretary Mary Smith said her school's staff rejected a budget that would turn the assistant secretary, attendance specialist and fiscal specialist from full-time to half-time positions.

To Fill Skills Gap In U.S., Schools Look Abroad NPR: Community colleges and trade schools are trying to better prepare students for a global market. And some are looking to Europe for answers.



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  • I think it is unlikely that Will Guzzardi, a Democrat, may find himself on either the House Elementary Secondary Committee or House k-12 Appropriations Committee, Maria “Toni” Berrios is currently on neither of those important education committees. The Speaker of the House, Mr. Madigan controls assignments for Democrats and he openly endorsed Ms. Berrios. So he could very well find himself on committees like the Biotechnology Committee, or the Restorative Justice Committee. I am reasonably confident the Speaker will not allow Guzzardi to take Toni’s seat on the powerful Executive Committee.

    The biggest issue Will Guzzardi may face upon arrival in Springfield are the dynamics of school funding and property tax rates within the city of Chicago. Public education was one of the top issues in the 39th District race that Guzzardi ran on. Guzzardi said repeatedly if elected he would work to make sure the state has quality neighborhood public schools that provide a good education for all students. Guzzardi said he differed with Berrios on education policies. "My opponent has been a big proponent of charter schools," he said. "She’s been a big proponent of vouchers, which would divert public money into private schools and defund our neighborhood public schools in a very dangerous way."

    It is very unlikely that Guzzardi will end up on any committee that plays a big role in K-12 education in his first term. But he may have to vote on very difficult issues relating to Chicago’s extremely low property tax rate relative to other towns in Cook County, there are increasing pressures from Republicans, suburban Democrats, and downstate Democrats for CPS to carry more of the burden for funding its schools. This is going to be a huge issue for the Logan Square community that elected him.

    For example just a quick examination of the Logan Square real estate market reveals numerous $1 million and higher single family homes for sale. Many of these very fine urban homes are taxed far lower than a comparable $1 million dollar home on the North Shore or in a suburb like Hinsdale. Will Guzzardi’s first challenge is dealing with the fiscal reality of state government relative to K-12 education funding. Getting rid of charter schools or stopping vouchers does not generate revenue. Even extending the current rate for the Illinois income tax does not solve the problem, but it would make it much better.

    A constitutional amendment to abolish the flat tax and move to a progressive income tax might solve the problem depending on the tax rate schedule, but jacking up the rate significantly for those making $100,000 a year or more will impact those in Logan Square that own the $1 million plus single family homes. There are risks in that for Guzzardi too.

    Welcome to Springfield it’s a fun place to spend some time.

    Rod Estvan

  • good points, rod -- here's politico's take on the rauner win and the jay travis loss (but nothing on guzzardi):

    "Teachers’ unions went all out in Tuesday's Illinois primary, but their favored candidates did not do well. Big labor, including the teachers unions, spent more than $3 million trying to knock charter school advocate Bruce Rauner out of the lead in the Republican gubernatorial primary, but he won handily. Rauner, a private equity manager with deep pockets, will face the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Pat Quinn, in November. The teachers unions will likely support Quinn even though they’re not big fans of his running mate, education reformer Paul Vallas. They fear Rauner — who is pushing for a major overhaul in public employee pensions — more than they dislike Vallas. More from POLITICO's Reid Epstein:

    "Another hot race in Illinois — and likely another defeat for teachers unions — unfolded in President Barack Obama’s old stomping ground, the 26th House district. The Chicago Teachers Union mobilized volunteers and funding against incumbent state Rep. Christian Mitchell, who has promoted charter schools and who voted for a pension reform bill that angered organized labor. Democrats for Education Reform responded by coming out forcefully behind Mitchell and congratulated him on his primary victory late Tuesday. But as of early Wednesday, challenger Jay Travis hadn't conceded [], despite polling numbers showing Mitchell with about 53 percent of the vote to Travis' 48 percent.

  • Rod Sierra resurfaces. Running for LSC?

  • Ames referendum --
    Ames community calls on Board of Education to find a different school for Marine Academy after Ames community votes by more than two-thirds to keep Ames as a communityschool.

    ​​ In the Advisory referendum on the ballot in 8 precincts surrounding Ames Middle School, voters choose by more than two-thirds to keep Ames as a neighborhood school. This, despite mailers, robo-calls and palm cards from Alderman Maldonado and Marine Academy high school students driven in from school just after noon to door-knock in Ames precincts.
    "We are calling on the alderman and CPS to find a new location for Marine and give the community back its neighborhood school, said Ames parent and LSC vice-president Delia Bonilla. "We knew this was how the community felt, the Board of Education just didn't believe us. Now we can provide a 'verified' vote that the community wants CPS to put Marine in a different building, perhaps one of the 50 closed buildings."
    The referendum was on the ballot in 3 wards (Ames is in the 26th ward but many students come from ward 1 or ward 35. The Referendum was in 4 precincts in ward 26, 3 in ward 35 and 1 in ward 1. The vote was 308 (yes -- keep Ames) to 141 (no).

  • Will Guzzardi issued a very interesting public statement today that is directly relevant to my earlier post. It in part reads: "The polls are closed, and the ballots are counted. We have prevailed.
    Today, this community stood together and demanded new leadership. We said in a clear voice that public education is the right of every child, not just those who live in nice neighborhoods or have wealthy parents. We said that corporations and the very rich ought to be paying their fair share in our society just like we do, and that working people are entitled to a decent retirement that they’ve paid for and earned."

    Just possibly Representative elect Guzzardi will get the chance to make the very rich of Logan Square pay their fair share of property taxes in the months to come. By the way the very rich don't just exist on the north shore. Up to now not one elected Democrat has publicly support raising CPS property taxes beyond the PTEL cap to fund schools. Will Guzzardi would be the first to do so and a heroic act it would be too.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rodestvan, "heoric" my a**. It is Guzzardi payback for the backing from CTU and other labor interests. This guy is a front for the unions. Not heroic at all, just the same old CTU machine. Give me a break dude.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Your lack of sophistication is remarkable. My reference to a heroic act would be in relation to supporting a Chicago based property tax increase for education. The CTU has opposed using additional property taxes as part of the solution to the funding issues CPS faces, it has proposed instead eliminating various property tax exemptions and TIFs.

    As I stated no elected Chicago politician has even raised the issue of increasing the CPS tax rate above the current cap imposed by PTEL. If you are going to attack my comments at least understand what you are attacking.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rodestvan your lack of sophistication understanding union payback for political backing is remarkable. Duhhhhh..........why do you think the state is in the mess it is in? Generations of political payback. Have you heard of the machine? You can pontificate about tax increases all you want and call it heroic yet the reality is political payback time to the CTU for his victory.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Illinois has problems that relate to both Democrats and Republicans. I am old enough to recall a Republican majority in the State House and the Senate. Speaker Madigan was in fact once the minority spokesperson in the House. The unionization of the public sector workforce at the level of the State of Illinois primarily took place during Republican administrations for a number of years.

    By the way have you ever heard of the use of the word "heroic" in the political context as a metaphor for political suicide.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Wait a sec... you claim Rod lacks sophistication, yet all you offer is simplistic political analysis and a "Duhhhhh...." Estvan has more sophistication in his pinky finger than you do in your entire substantive heft.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I agree. I remember meeting Rod Estvan years ago when he worked for CPS as a Corey H monitor. I remember thinking, "Wow! CPS is finally hiring highly competent, intelligent people who actually know special education law AND care about the students. Rod Estvan has answered many of my questions regarding special education on this blog. He provides a valuable service not only to the children, parents and teachers but possibly puts CPS on notice that someone is watching how special education serves are delivered in CPS.


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    In reply to district299reader:

    Absolutely. I don't always agree with Mr. Estvan, but his comments are always thoughtful, well written and backed by facts. His anonymous attacker does not know what he is talking about.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    "interesting" is one word to describe it. . . ."public education is the right of every child not just those who live in nice neighborhoods or have wealthy families" . . . odd point of view when the percent of CPS students in poverty is somewhere over 87%. . . it seems to me that public education in Chicago is quite the opposite . . .a benefit provided mostly to children in poverty and passed over by those who can and are willing to afford anything else. That those not in poverty are so willing to pass on the benefit is probably the central source of CPS's problems. Woulda hoped that an elected got that. Too bad for all of us.

  • It should read - Up to now not one elected Chicago Democrat has publicly support raising CPS property taxes beyond the PTEL cap to fund schools.

  • Eleven of 12 endorsed candidates won yesterday, says @illinoistand anything from CTU or anyone else?

  • At our middle school, we ban this type of pant-wear and skinny jeans. (You do not see boys in skinny jeans.)
    Simply, the girls who dress in this manner, are not prepared to deal with the inappropriate attention they get from boys and men.
    Last year, a man followed a girl on her way home because he told her he liked her skinny jeans. The girl never told her mother, but a good neighbor reported it to the school. The mother finally 'got' why our school has a dress policy.

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