Teachers Vote "No" On Common Core

Teachers Vote "No" On Common Core

So the CPS House of Delegates voted against Common Core last night -- a powerful but entirely symbolic move since it's (a) already being implemented and (b) not subject to teachers' approval. [All but 13 states are field testing Common Core assessments this spring, according to EdWeek.] Also: Mayor Rahm doesn't think much of the union's proposed "LaSalle" tax, lots of teachers are leaving CPS (but less than in the past), and attendance is down (compared to recent years).Nationally: NAEP scores for 12th grade are out and it's not pretty. Common Core is making Kafka popular, according to Vox. Etc. Check it all out below.


Chicago Teachers Union votes to oppose Common Core Standards Sun-Times:  The Chicago Teachers Union has voted to oppose the Common Core Standards, a rigorous set of educational benchmarks implemented by Illinois law and in many other states. The union announced its House of Delegates voted Wednesday to urge the city's .

Chicago Union Passes Resolution Opposing Common Core TeacherBeat: The Chicago Teachers Union passed a resolution opposing the Common Core State Standards, in what may have implications for its parent union.


Emanuel's arrogance exceeds his accomplishments Chicago Tribune: Chicago Public Schools, also under Emanuel's stewardship, is prepared to spend $423 million — triple what it spent last year — for bricks and mortar

Emanuel skeptical of teachers union pension plan WBEZ: “Years ago, people referred to ‘Lasalle Street’ because it was a financial center, and Chicago had a lotta banks that were...Chicago-based. There’s only one left. They’re all gone.” Emanuel also suggested a financial transaction tax might hurt the city’s thriving futures and options industry. “That’s a place where Chicago’s still, economically, a dominant player,” Emanuel said. “And there’s more competition.”

Karen Lewis to be 'very active' in mayoral election, has no preferred candidate Chicago Tribune:  Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said today that the union would be “very active” in next year's mayoral election, but offered little insight into efforts to recruit a challenger to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Underscoring her long standing pledge ...

CPS Schools, New Management for 3 Chicago Defender: The recommendation for the nonprofit to turnaround the schools, all with Level 3 ratings, the worst in the district, came from CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. 


Jumping the ship Catalyst: Every year, on average, 18 percent of Chicago teachers leave their schools. Some are fired or laid off. Some take a job in another CPS school or, increasingly, in another district. Some abandon teaching altogether.  Though teacher turnover in CPS remains higher than the national average, the good news is that it has decreased slightly in recent years.


Benito Juarez H.S. Investigated for Altering Student Attendance Records DNA Info: A dramatic jump in attendance at Pilsen's largest high school, Benito Juarez — a boost that helped the school escape probation for the first time in a decade — was one of the reasons U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited the school in December, when he praised the school's "markedly better results in a short amount of time."

Lindblom H.S. Principal Wins Golden Apple Leadership Award DNA Info: Alan Mather declared his school, at 6130 S. Wolcott Ave., is one of the best in the country.

Absenteeism, truancy up in elementary grades Catalyst: Some 22.5 percent of kindergartners, for example, were considered chronically truant in the 2012 school year, a rate that was 4.6 percentage points higher than two years earlier. Meanwhile, nearly 20 percent of kindergartners were chronically absent in the 2012 school year, compared to 16.6 percent two years prior.

Chicago Public Schools Blogger & Tribune journalists discuss CNN's Chicagoland White Rhino: I've been nominated for a Bammy Education Award in the blogger category! Vote for The White Rhino in the Education Commentator / Blogger category by clicking on the link below.


Florida Judge: Teacher-Evaluation System Unfair, But Legal TeacherBeat: Florida's teacher-evaluation law may be hastily implemented and unfair, but it's still legal, a federal court ruled.

How Should NCLB Waiver States Keep an Eye On District Teacher-Evaluation Plans? PK12: Of the 42 states with waivers, just 10 choose a statewide evaluation system that looks the same in every district, according to a report released Tuesday by the Center for American Progress. That means, of course, that while the feds are busy policing and negotiating with states on the finer points of the waiver plans, [those 10] states are doing the same thing with districts.

Connecticut Students Show Gains in National Tests NYT: The state’s seniors did better on reading and math exams, but New Jersey remained flat in those areas, according to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Demographic changes do not explain test-score stagnation among U.S. high school seniors Hechinger: The scores for high school seniors haven’t improved at all since 1992, when reading tests were first administered. Indeed, today’s reading scores are actually lower than they were in 1992. The math results, which date back to only 2005, show a modest increase right after that first year. But it’s been complete stagnation since. It’s hard to make sense of this data. How do you explain why there are improvements in fourth and eighth grade, but not twelfth?

Department Of Education Brings Home A Disappointing Report Card NPR: The Department of Education has released its latest math and reading scores for 12th graders. The scores offer little good news for educators, with results low and largely unchanged since 2009.

How is Australia beating the U.S. at graduating first-generation, low-income college students? Hechinger: Students in polos and plaids streamed into the auditorium at the University of Western Sydney as Lorde’s “Royals” blasted on repeat. While she sang about having “no post code envy,” hundreds of low-income high school seniors and students who would be the first in their families to go to college took their seats. Ahead of them was a day of panels and information sessions on college and careers put on by Fast Forward, a UWS program that reaches out to economically disadvantaged groups.

School Segregation After Brown ProPublica: Hundreds of school districts were placed under court order to desegregate following the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Many communities do not know the status of these orders. Use this tool to find out whether your district is or ever was under a desegregation order, and also to look at the levels of integration and segregation in your schools.

How the Common Core made Kafka way more popular Vox: The list of stories, poems, and nonfiction near the end of the Common Core state standards isn't supposed to be an assignment list. But teachers seem to be using it that way.The list, called Appendix B, is meant only to give an idea of the type of works students should be reading in order to meet the standards; middle-schoolers aren't required to readThe Adventures of Tom Sawyerbut teachers should choose books at a similar level of difficulty or with similar themes.

More news below (and throughout the day at @alexanderrusso).

Professor Launches Academic Boot Camp NPR: Many underprivileged students come to college unprepared to handle the coursework and then drop out. Now a Washington, D.C professor is giving students a boost through a summer boot camp for math.

Research Drives Teacher Training for Digital Reading Education Week News: As concern about technology's impact on student reading comprehension grows, some researchers and educators are pursuing strategies for promoting "deep reading" skills on mobile digital devices

Delegates Recommend a Yes Vote for Teachers Contract WNYC: More than 2000 delegates of the teachers union approved a proposed new contract with the city on Wednesday, sending it to their members for the final vote. But the sentiment among delegates seemed to be one of resignation more than joy for the first new contract since 2009.

Families settle over school cheating scandal AP: The families of four students accused of hacking into computers at a public high school have reached settlements with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and dropped out of litigation....

The new face of teacher unionism in New York City and beyond Hechinger: I knew Al Shanker, Mr. Mulgrew, and you’re no Al Shanker. Would Al Shanker have agreed to let at least 200 schools, thousands of teachers, exit the basic UFT contract?

Here's What School Lunch Looks Like In 13 Countries Around The World BI: The photographers found that while most schools abroad don't actually sell lunch, the ones that do, put a "premium" on feeding their students healthy meals. Students were more likely to go home for lunch or bring a home-cooked meal.

New York City's Teachers' Contract: Examining the Details TeacherBeat: An analysis of the actual text of NYC's tentative teacher contract.



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    The Common Core standards don't raise the bar high enough, especially in mathematics, since they will leave American students more than two years behind their peers in east Asia even if they are implemented successfully; but what they need is revising, not wholesale abandonment, as the Chicago teachers' union urges. On the whole the opponents of the Common Core have been making worse arguments than those in favour. I publicly supported Common Core when the project was first announced; it was only after reading the released standards that I realized that they are not what they claim to be, and until they are revised so as to help produce genuine readiness for university colleges at a world-class standard, I will continue to urge their revision and resistance to them as they currently stand.

  • In reply to Bruce Smith:

    Right now our country can import workers with high math skills relatively cheaply. Even better it is now completely possible to put many programming and engineering projects off shore where the workforce is even cheaper.

    While Bruce sees great urgency to increase math standards for the mass of US students I see very limited need for it. US bussiness leaders continually complain about the math skills of our workforce, but shift production to Mexico where the skills in math are even lower.

    Many of the higher skilled jobs in manufacturing can be conducted remotely. There are advanced computerized factories in our our nation located in rural America that are dependent on believe it or not Amhish workers who have only grade 5 math skills, come to work by horse and buggy, These workers are fantastically productive and relatively cheap too, a plant with 40 to 50 workers may need only 5 or 6 highly skilled in math. There are two such operations in Clark County Wisconsin where we have a second home.

    A far more important issue than math skills is work discipline for a younger workforce. While it is true that a modern high tech machinist needs greater math skills now we need far fewer of them, so things balance out in my opinion.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Yes, Mr. Estvan is definitely right. No doubt, someone will develop the phone app - "Have your own personal Indian/Chinaman in your pocket - he is waiting for you and will calculate the restaurant tip or which size jar of peanut butter to buy". The Chinese will do the higher level math for manufacturing for a tenth of the price. The Yuan pegged US dollar will eventually collapse our financial industry anyway. Why teach math at all? Ultimately, all we really need are some disciplined workers who don't need to think much.

  • In reply to CPS Parent:

    "Ultimately, all we really need are some disciplined workers who don't need to think much."

    Well the CTU is certainly up for this challenge.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Yes, and Teach for America should recruit in the Amhish [sic] community - so productive and disciplined.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    If you go to the bureau of Labor statistics and look at projections for job creation in our country the vast bulk of jobs are in the service sector and do not require higher math skills. I know some of you are out raged, but if a person with higher math skills can be gotten cheaper in India than here then our companies will seek out that advantage.

    Our current shortages for higher skilled technical workers are largely driven by the limits placed on work visas by Congress. It's a created shortage and not a real one.

    I am do not like where all of this is going, but we are now part of a global market. Investors and owners are concerned about returns on investments and not so much concerned about employment within the USA. The only way pushing math standards higher will bring more jobs is if by doing so the average cost of a skilled computer programer or engineer in the USA declines significantly. That is extremely unlikely in my opinion.

    We are producing an adequate number of high school graduates who have strong math skills to fill all of our national military academies. Consistently the average math score of a freshman at West Point has risen and for purposes of national defense this county is clearly producing high school graduates with sufficient math skills for our very high tech military. The US officer corp is second to no nation on earth in their technical ability.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod Estvan - I never figured you for a status quo type of guy, but apparently you think education if fine as is and that there is no need to teach the students much - 5th grade math is fine. Plus only about 5 or 6 out of 50 students need to learn anything because the rest just need to stay in line and listen to their orders. I guess history does repeat itself.

  • fb_avatar

    Rod notes the value of differentiation among the mathematics skills of the workforce. I agree; which is another reason I am skeptical about the Common Core, and would limit any common set of standards for pupils to comprehensive education, which I would limit to the completion of middle school. After that, the differences between pupils are so great as to render the teaching of them together inefficient, and they are generally bound for separate destinations anyway, and have different needs; but while some factory workers may be able to get along with lesser skills (which should still be better than their current shameful state), we'll want other top engineers to help us solve the many technological problems our economy is encountering, and we won't want to depend upon foreign countries to train them for us; and the Common Core does very little to help us prepare such students who might compete with young engineers from China, India, or anywhere else.

  • In reply to Bruce Smith:

    Yes, indeed, the Common Cores' emphasis on critical thinking is useless and misplaced for perhaps the majority of Chicago's students!

  • interesting to note in the recent WBEZ story that Common Core polls relatively well among the public and also especially among CPS teachers (according to a CPS poll, at least).... does CTU have its own internal polls suggesting otherwise, or does it just rely on commenters here to know what's going on :-0

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Alexander it is crystal clear why CTU is saying no to the Common Core. They say no to anything that has any chance of a positive impact on students or may inconvenience teachers or to keep teachers from being held accountable for teaching outcomes.

    There are teachers who do care about students and like CC. Why the teachers follow Karen Lewis like lemmings off a cliff is a mystery? Reminds me of the first strike where Karen Lewis led teachers off the cliff saying it is for the kids. That was certainly a lie. I wonder what she will lead them off the cliff in strike #2 coming up.

    Actually, I am thinking too much. The reason CTU said no to CC is because Karen Lewis' ego is so huge that she can't let anything positive happen in CPS because that may make Rahm look good.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    False dilemma...facile.

  • fb_avatar

    Wow. Lots of hate for the CTU in that letter. I'm surprised you forgot to note that CTU teachers drink the blood of innocent babies.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Note: Not teachers, but wouldn't put it past Karen Lewis.

  • The decision doesn't male sense. CTU has already agreed to REACH, which requires the explicit use of standards. The state has defined the standards as CCSS. This vote reneges on a component of the contract. Is CTU saying that they are explicitly doing something that will put their members' evaluations at risk? This wouldn't make sense due to the fact that not supporting standards would put members' licensces at risk.

  • Michelle Gunderson: How Chicago Teachers Union Decided to Oppose Common Core -Education Week Teacher http://ht.ly/wKPBW

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