State Scraps Testing Reqs (Too Many White Teachers)

State Scraps Testing Reqs (Too Many White Teachers)

The state's scrapped minimum test scores for teachers (84 percent of current teachers are white).  North Lawndale needs Legacy charter school.  Chicagoland nails Chicago.  How can unions win? "Accidental" application for Howard Ave alternative school.  Plus lots of national news and other cities (and Chicago education news all day at @district299).

To boost teacher diversity, state scraps limits on basic skills test-taking Catalyst: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) voted on Wednesday to scrap a policy established just four years ago that set a limit on the number of times prospective teachers could take the required basic skills tests. Half of students in Illinois public schools are white, but close to 84 percent of their teachers are white, according to state records.

North Lawndale should welcome Legacy charter school Chicago Tribune: Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Mayor Rahm Emanuel sought to tamp down parent and neighborhood anger at losing beloved (though poorly performing) schools.

Robert Redford's tale of two cities nails Chicago pretty well Crain's Chicago Business: Mr. Levin has a talent for humanizing just about everyone in his pieces — excepting Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, that is — and the hard-edged Mr. Emanuel gains from that.

Number of Illinois school districts in financial distress doubles Chicago Tribune: Those districts in trouble include Chicago Public Schools and other large districts such as Plainfield 202 and Aurora West. The new financial rating ...

Another Snow Day For Many Schools, Thanks To Power Outages CBS: Several Chicago area schools were closed Wednesday due to the snow, in most cases because a winter storm knocked out power. WBBM Newsradio's Bernie Tafoya reports more than 1,000 students from Orland Junior High ..

How Can Unions Win? The Awl: The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)—led by Karen Lewis and the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE), an assertive faction that had taken control of the union—chose the latter strategy.

Alternative High School on Howard Still in the Works, Just Not Anytime Soon DNA Info: Ombudsman Chicago said it accidentaly applied for a permit, sparking an early revolt from some residents.

Gordon Tech Changes Name to DePaul College Prep DNAI Info: The North Center high school will switch its name this summer to DePaul College Prep.

For the Record: Gifted education Catalyst: Overall, enrollment at most of the 27 schools with comprehensive gifted programs is on the upswing. At 17 schools, enrollment increased. Nine schools experienced decreases, and one school did not have enrollment data for 2012-13.


Yes, Schools Do Discriminate Against Students Of Color HuffPost:  The researchers found that black students were 1.78 times as likely to be suspended out of school as white students. Latino students' suspension odds were 2.23 times greater than those of white students. Students with disabilities were suspended at twice the rate of their non-disabled peers, and for longer durations. Worse, 25 percent of black students with disabilities received at least one out-of-school suspension in the 2009-2010 school year.

House K-12 Leaders Work on Bipartisan Charter School Bill, Sources Say PK12: The major difference this time around, sources say, could be a greater emphasis on ensuring that federal funding goes to Charter Management Organizations (such as KIPP, or Aspire). That's something U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has supported, and it's a piece of a bipartisan charter school bill written by Reps. Jared Polis, D-Col., and Tom Petri, R-Wis.

Common Core protesters voice concerns Two dozen protesters of Common Core spoke out on their concerns about freedom, high educational standards and local guidance during a visit to Worcester Technical High School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

A Study Seeks to Determine What Makes Prekindergarten Successful NYT: The study will follow 4,000 children to see if curriculum can create lasting improvement in students’ skills and a likelihood to persevere academically.

Bill Gates Isn't Worried Because Progress 'Doesn't Depend On Washington' HuffPo: The bling of science, technology, efficiency and “market signals” was bright. The talk was about how we would basically end infant mortality, cure polio once and for all, devise better ways to educate our children, and enjoy material, biological and digital advances so mind-boggling that most people on Earth, even the poor, would “be able to access better lifestyles than everyone has today.” Science-based technology and commerce would do it all, and soon. Yes, Bill Gates was back in town.

The edtech startup that’s shucking the playbook by acting like a consumer company Pando Daily: ClassDojo is one of those startups that which have avoided Silicon Valley buzz while apparently catching fire in the real world. Here’s how it works: Teachers input their class roster, and students are turned into avatars: one eyed green monsters or pink furry creatures, that kind of thing.


Choosing a Preschool: Order Amid Chaos, or Structure Above All? NYT: My husband and I sometimes found ourselves on opposite sides of questions around structure and child-rearing, and our emotional legacies accompanied us on every preschool visit. Would our daughter thrive amid chaos, or order — or either?

Opinion: Charter School Battles Leave Parents Used and Confused WNYC: No, the latest fight is not about children or choice. It’s part of a shrewd political battle that had spilled over from the Bloomberg era. Bloomberg closed almost 140 district schools while opening more than 100 charter schools during his tenure. Mayor Bill de Blasio inherited the former mayor’s approval of dozens of schools planning to open or expand this fall. After a review, he chose to put the brakes on six new schools -- three district schools and three charter schools -- at least partly due to concerns about co-locations.

L.A. school board approves amended contract for Supt. John Deasy LA Times: Los Angeles Unified schools Supt. John Deasy has a newly modified contract that includes an annual buyout of unused vacation days and new performance measures that require him to bring in revenue and enroll more students. He will also pay his own pension deduction for the first time, a cost offset by an increase of $20,000 to his annual salary.

Volatility of D.C. Mayoral Campaign Raises Stakes for City Schools' Future District Dossier: If voters decide to toss Mayor Vincent Gray from office in the wake of a mounting campaign finance scandal, it's not clear what would happen to Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who has been at the helm of the school system since 2010.

Elementary School Pilot Program Helps Family Escape Homelessness Seattle Times: Across the country more than one million kids may not know where they’re going to sleep tonight.


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  • The idea of opening any additional K-12 school programs in North Lawndale defies all demographic analysis. The population of North Lawndale fell by 8,487 to 41,768 from 1990 to 2005, and appeared to be leveling off somewhat after declines of 30,000 in the 1960s and 1970s. But once the 2010 census data came out it became apparent the decline was continuing with North Lawndale’s population going down to 35,912 in just five years, a decline of 14%.

    The Chicago Tribune editorial which Alexander posted a link to seems obsessed with the idea that the only reason CPS might not put a charter school in the closed Pope Elementary School is because CPS, in its proposal last year to close neighborhood schools, promised that charters would not be allowed to take over those closed buildings. Another reason might be that opening a Legacy campus at Pope would require the students to come from outside of the North Lawndale area because there simply are not enough students left in that community to fill buildings. Moreover, for every charter school there are additional costs for startup, and right now CPS needs to practice extreme austerity.

    Possibly the Tribune editors did not read their reporter Diane Rado’s article yesterday that CPS has entered ISBE’s “financial early warning,” status. This is truly remarkable development because much of the debt CPS has accumulated is based on what are called pledged state aid revenues and not on property taxes. The ISBE system measuring the level of debt a school district can absorb is based on taxable property wealth and not state aid revenue. Property tax revenues in relation to most CPS bonds are only used if state aid revenues are insufficient. So the ISBE approach is less than solid when it comes to examining CPS.
    When it comes to supporting the creation of additional charter schools in the city the Tribune editorial board is totally irrational.

    Rod Estvan

  • Legacy just wants to move to more space. An empty school building is an unused asset. If North Lawndale residents didn't want their children to be in Legacy, space wouldn't be a problem for that school.

    CPS needs to stop making promises to pacify loud residents who seem to only support CTU occupied schools and look at where parents actually want to send their children. If parents had preferred Pope to Legacy, Pope would not have been closed.

    Maybe more people will want to live in North Lawndale if there is more room in schools where parents actually want to send their children.

  • Rodestvan the choice a parent makes is not based on population counts or geography. It is based on what school they are willing to send their child to. The same issue with Lincoln vs. Alcott for a long time. The same issue for Burley and Jahn. Burley doesn't need an addition when Jahn is not at capacity and only a few blocks away. Yet Burley is bursting at the seams and Jahn still struggling. The Tribune makes perfect sense when looking at it from the perspective of parents.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    When you are a district on the verge of fiscal disaster a school district has to make decisions based on more than parent choice. I don't like what is happening either to funding for traditional schools or charter schools in the next fiscal year. Keeping Pope closed and effectively in storage is without question cheaper than placing in it a charter that will require start up funding.

    Once the Tribune editorial Board members wrap their minds around the fiscal state of CPS and that any pension deal will likely not come near equaling the funding cut CPS will likely receive from the General Assembly in FY15 they will change their tune. I spoke before the House Education Appropriations committee this morning, the potential cuts Chicago faces that were discussed included General State Aid and the special education Block Grant equal about $433 million a year. If these levels of cuts take place, even if CPS were able to call a vote for property taxes to exceed the cap, there is no way a passable tax referendum could possibly pass to cover these losses.

    For whatever reason the Tribune editorial Board and charter school/ school choice supporters seem not to understand where all of this is going and the need to contain spending.

    Rod Estvan

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