Ask Vallas About Common Core!

Ask Vallas About Common Core!

Local news includes turnarounds at 3 schools, CTU's concerns about the CPS budget, and Vallas/Rauner comparisons (aren't they running against each other?) Nationally, the big news is that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal wants the state to get out of the Common Core but he's being resisted by the state education chief (former Chicago TFA head John White).

CPS Teachers, Staff Lose Jobs at Three Schools  Chicago Defender: CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett wrote President David Vitale a letter recommending that he and the rest of the board reconsider the decision to turnaround Gresham. After much thought, AUSL will  still take over the school in the fall.

14 months of revenue for a 12-month budget The Capitol Fax Blog (blog): Ten months after the biggest realignment in CPS history, the stage is set for a cataclysmic budget debacle, which could top $1 billion. “It's completely nuts,” says Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey.

Closed CPS School Building Eyed To House Academic Program Progress Illinois: Although Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has previously stated that new schools would not take over school buildings left vacant due to the last round of school closings, the district will consider Burns' plan and others proposed for

Report Calls for Moratorium on Chicago School Closures District Dossier: Researchers from the University of Illinois found that parents felt excluded from the process, are distrustful of the school system, and want a voice in closure decisions.

Paul Vallas has a lot in common with Bruce Rauner Chicago Sun-Times: Yet, when it comes to some of the most important issues in education today, Quinn's running mate in the November election — the former Chicago Public Schools chief executive Paul Vallas — appears to have plenty in common with Rauner.

Comings & Goings: Carter, Knight Catalyst: Terrence Carter, currently the director and chief academic officer of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, has been named superintendent of the New London CT public schools. This fall, Lloyd Knight will become the director of Lloyd Bond Charter School , which is in the Chicago International Charter School Network.


Three Unions Approve Contracts With DCPS WAMU: Unions representing principals, classroom aides and custodians at DCPS have given the thumbs up to new contracts, sending them to the D.C. Council for approval.

About 12 percent of Ohio's third graders still can't read well enough for fourth grade In Cleveland, which has some of the worst-scoring readers in the state, only 63 percent of third graders scored well enough to go to fourth grade. Warrensville Heights and East Cleveland students also face large numbers of retention in third grade, with 61 and 68 percent of third graders earning passing scores.

Fortune 500 List Lacks Ed. Companies, But Includes Prominent K-12 Vendors EdWeek: On the expanded Fortune 1000 listing, Graham Holdings Co., a Washington-based business that owns Kaplan, among other properties in the news, cable, and broadcasting areas, lost ranking (to No. 614, down from  No. 580 last year) but gained profitability by 79 percent, compared with last year. Kaplan serves the K-12 market, with academic-tutoring and test-preparation services.


Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost:  But Jindal's own state education superintendent, John White, is incensed. "It is outside the bounds of both our state's laws and our state's aspirations for its children to think that we would turn back now," White said in a statement.  A lack of cooperation from White, who is in charge of implementing the state's education policies, could complicate Jindal's plan.

Bobby Jindal Announces Huge Common Core Shift In Louisiana HuffPost: Jindal issued a series of executive orders calling for the state to come up with "Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test" in place of the "one size fits all" Common Core standards.

Bobby Jindal announces plans to get Louisiana out of Common Core NOLA: The governor did acknowledge he can't scrap Common Core by himself entirely. Jindal may have the ability to block a Common Core standardized test the state had planned to use next year, but he can't ditch the academic standards totally without the support of the Louisiana Legislature or the state school board.

Bobby Jindal can't quit the Common Core on his own Vox: Jindal can't actually get rid of the standards on his own. That requires cooperation from the state's top education official, among others — and that official says the state will stick with Common Core.

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal Declares State Dumping Common Core, PARCC Tests State EdWatch: Louisiana's governor wants the state to "develop our own standards and our own tests," but he will likely have a fight on his hands with the state schools' chief and board still backing the common core.

Governor Plans to Cut Ties to Common Core in Louisiana NYT: Louisiana’s governor said on Wednesday that his state would end its enactment of the educational guidelines, but other officials immediately said that he had overstepped his authority.

Common Core opponents say states' repeal boosts momentum Wyoming Tribune: Since March, governors in three states have signed legislation to repeal the Common Core.




Leave a comment
  • Anyone have any ideas of what's going on with interim principals at Taft, Lake View, Prosser, and Von Steuben? Have permanent principals been hired or are the old principals coming back for the 2014-15 school year?

  • Who is the interim principal at Prosser?

  • Ms. Linda Pierzchalski

  • If Ms"P" is the same lady I knew as the principal at Bogan Then
    Prosser is in good hands,in fact she was the best principal I ever worked for,and I worked for a lot of them.

  • Linda was only at Prosser because Ken Hunter took an extended LOA and probably will not be back. The LOA had something to do with the U of C Consortium Survey and this nonsense:

    'Kenneth Hunter Speaks on God, Love, and the Hizmet Movement"

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I seem to recall a Ken Hunter who Ms P mentored at Bogan years ago.

  • Taft has a new principal. He was one of the assistant principals at Whitney Young. His name is Mark Grishaber.

  • They come from Cleveland and 3rd graders can't read: BBB, some OS4 administrators, Myte(?) in ODLSS, Saegert, etc. Anyone else who is gracing CPS with their presence?

  • Lake View's interim principal Scott Grens accepted their permanent principal position today.

  • Here's a link to the U of C Consortium scandal involving Prosser and Hunter, including comments at the bottom from Prosser teachers:

  • Scandal is a pretty strong word. It's a survey. If the Prosser teacher's decide they're better off viewing "the glass is half full", they're going to answer that way. That would seem to be their right.

  • I'd say going from a weak to strong rating, up 35 points, for their principal is pretty scandalous considering it was basically the same staff at Prosser the year before. Things don't change that fast in ONE year. The survey being pumped up was due largely to the Prosser teachers being upset Speer Academy (Noble Street charter school) is opening directly across the street from the them.
    Where's Prosser's principal been hiding since January, about the same time word of the 'scandal' broke? This sounds fishy too, especially at a school known for high drama.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Another warning as to why CPS teachers need to be careful when answering the annual CCSR survey. It can bite you back.
    Now teachers are 'threatend' that if they do not answer the survey, there will be repercussions added to their school level rating. Does UofC make that much $$ from CPS not to say no to that 'rule'?
    UofC is a research institution - right?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Stop hysteria!! U of C only makes minimal amount of money on the surveys. Just answer the survey honestly and with integrity. Can you really say Prosser deserves scores aligned with Lane, Payton, and Northside Prep? read the article and then check out the survey results.

    You want to see a school where teachers answered what they really thought of their leadership, check out Kelvyn Park High School. The teachers answered in single digits. And, in several areas, Prosser teachers were giving questions (which concerned them) nearly perfect scores.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well then, how does UC pay daley so well? How much $$ does UC get from CPS and Illinois and from grants for their 'research'? It is not hysteria when teachers have to be threatened by CPS central office to complete the UC surveys or they will get a 10% total penalty on their students' NWEA scores. Now that's hysteria.
    Reliability is at issue here. Prosser's teachers answered as they did because there was going to be a charter built across the street. Lane, Northside and Payton do not have that worry. Wake up.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Why not let the consumers, the students, answer the survey? I was hard-pressed to find any student responses on any school's survey. Too much drama, save it for mama.

    Prosser teachers got caught, plain and simple. a jump of 8-10 points wouldn't have been noticeable, but, 32-40? C'mon.

    And, Prosser's principal allowed his school to be overcrowded because he wanted his choice for AP in as a 2nd AP, not an AP he was told to hire by CPS as a favor last year. And, Prosser's principal is all about favors and politics. Now, he's gone from the looks of it as he got greedy and so did HIS teachers.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Please stop with the consumer references. Schools are not a business and students are not consumers.

  • Buzz pointing out to staff that they need to quit the bitching just doesn't rise to the level of scandal to me. But I do agree that the huge improvement on the recent survey just can't truly reflect a large improvement in staff culture at the school.

    None of this changes the fact that Prosser as an organization just hasn't done a particularly good job at educating their relatively capable students.

  • It's funny if you look at the survey results for Prosser, there's no input from the students and their parents. Did they even know there was a survey? It's not 'far-fetched' to believe they weren't given the surveys. Things that make you go Hmmmmm!

  • Here is how I see the survey issue in light of the Prosser situation. It is yet another problem for the entire U of C Consortium approach to locating the key indicators for urban school improvement. The survey result form part of a key indicator of school climate for the Consortium.

    When you add to this the possible massive grade falsification at Juarez, a high school the Consortium singled out as a model of improvement we are seeing a real erosion in the approach of the Consortium. The problem sees to be with the presumption of effective oversight by CPS in relation to the validity of all of these data points. To be honest the Consortium does not have the resources to examine the validity of the data they amass from schools.

    But the bigger problem for the Consortium is its failure to comprehend that CPS evolution to site based management and greater autonomy of principals may require greater monitoring from a central office not less. The Networks really can't figure out more complex manipulation of data sets, for the most part they lack the skill sets to do so and rank and file teachers who may understand what is going on see the Network bureaucrats correctly as backing the principals so blowing the whistle seems hopeless or even likely to get you fired. Moreover, due to the fact that every one in the school could get fired in a turn around or conversion situation in some cases teachers could be complicit with data manipulation.

    There is I think much more to the Prosser survey issue than just another group of complaining teachers, aspects of various forms of data manipulation may or may not be systemic in CPS inclusive of charter schools in the district.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    IF you know data, you can spot errors/possible manipulations easily. This does not require massive oversight - it requires skill - a skill that is lacking from top to bottom. School data is about relationships in the multiple metrics, not individual metrics alone. Cheaters are easily spotted on Dashboard; integrity to call people out is not. We have crossed into a different age, and many are complicit from CO to NO to principal to teacher. The thing is number manipulation won't increase your academic achievement or enrollment. This is a small potato argument that will come out in the wash.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    You can flag the data but you still have to investigate. Neither CPS nor the Consoritum are allocating the resources for such investigations. In the case of CPS the administrative reductions have been so massive and the losses of experienced staff so significant that monitoring on the ground is now only possible in a very few schools atone time. In the case of the Consoritum they don't have any legal ability to investigate, but they could publish informational notes about outlier data that shows rapid improvement and present stastical information based on historic data sets on the likeness that such amazing improvements are both real and sustainable.

    In relation to data manipulation not having an impact on enrollment, I disagree. The best example are the differences between cohort graduation rates and PR about 100% graduation rates which have been based in some cases only on seniors. Theses claims do attract families to schools, similarly manipulation of value added data can also be a draw for a school when it becomes part of a PR package.

    Rod Estvan

  • The question remains...who'll be Prosser's principal come Fall, 2014?

  • Thank you, Mr. Estvan. Your responses are insightful.

    You say: "we are seeing a real erosion in the approach of the Consortium." Agreed. The Consortium should have insisted that CPS Accountability not make the survey high stakes by using student standardized test scores as punishment for not meeting a completion rate or by allowing results to be presented in part to close or turnaround schools. This questions the validity as teachers answer in the affirmative to not hurt their students and their school.

    The Consortium seems to not realize that like the Prosser example, and with CPS high-stakes edicts, there are emotional factors that humans will use when answering a survey.

    The survey is further stacked against neighborhood schools as these schools’ results are compared to the survey results of selective enrollment schools. Example: If your neighborhood school survey scores very high in any of the five essentials, but the selective enrollment or other schools score even higher, your school outcome 'points' are reduced. The neighborhood school is then further punished as it can fall to a lower level. Yet, your school climate and other key factors are great. The Consortium has also been in the news as their 'survey' is being used statewide and results were not made public due to an outcry by Illinois school administrators to ISBE.

    You say: “…failure to comprehend that CPS evolution to site based management and greater autonomy of principals may require greater monitoring from a central office not less.” I disagree. There is little to no site-based management or autonomy for principals. This has been brought to our attention in the Catalyst articles of late, from principals who are willing to speak up. The Networks and a number of central office employees are of no help and an expense at the cost to the schools. (There is one netwrok that has 5-6 deputies in it.) Too many are filled by out-of-town people who know little of or may not even care to know how a CPS school runs, city or state requirements, or will not speak to the extreme ‘lack of funding’ for their continual and unreasonable mandates.

    Network chiefs have chased out good principals and disillusioned and discomforted others. There have been so many administration changes that school leaders and teachers are forced to do new and different things annually that consistantly waste instructional time. The newer central office types and networks cause confusion and get in the way of schools making progress. Frankly, this may be the plan.

  • You are right-very astute. Central office has chased out network chiefs, principals and teachers who refuse to play the game which is to cause the destruction of public education in CPS. Public education works fine in the suburbs that these people go to after their stints in CPS. Why does CPS have so many carpetbaggers?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I am not going to defend the existing CPS Networks, so many experienced administrators have left CPS that there is little historical memory left. For the most part the imported administrators are gotten relatively inexpensively, there are many school district superintendents around Illinois of much smaller districts that make more than the current CPS CEO.

    The best examples of the need for increased monitoring when site based management is broadly implemented is the auto sector. Toyota for example based almost all quality controls in plant based teams under the control of plant managers, it all looked great and became part of the continuous improvement management theory. This turned into a nightmare for Toyota with a whole series of recalls and hurt their image. Toyota had almost no centralized top down quality management.

    Toyota plant managers were driven by performance metrics and paid for outcomes, plant workers also got a cut of these bonuses. Just like autonomous schools these plant based teams became effectively group think organizations driven in part by collective self interest.

    Lastly, I am not advocating for importing management practices from industry for public education, but if you are going to do this which CPS has then the downside of the model needs to be looked at too.

    Rod Estvan

  • Public education works in the suburbs for a number of reasons, all of which play off of each other. Some of the reasons are: more involved parents, more money, smaller class sizes, lower student and staff turnover or mobility rate, lower poverty rates, lower crime rates, healthier communities, higher rates of 2 parent households, and lower second language speaker rates. The districts are also smaller with more local control. It is simply far easier to run districts that don't have so many of the urgent issues CPS faces. You can have 1 or 2 of those issues and still have a functional district, but all of them put together? Its a recipe for disaster.

  • Public education "works" in some suburbs, mainly the ones where the majority of families are middle class or better. This is because how most people define what "works" in education is based on stereotype and cultural biases.

  • The gaming of on-track metrics and the Consortium survey are proof that whenever you take a reliable metric and make it "high stakes" people will naturally change their behavior, most often so that they are not harmed by it. By making the Consortium survey "high stakes" CPS has effectively ruined one of the best metrics ever devised for measuring schools. What CPS leadership doesn't understand is that you don't have to make something "high stakes" in order to use it to inform their decisions. Thankfully they didn't make mClass data "high stakes." When told teachers would game the assessment to make every child "proficient" folks in Central Office were appalled. People in Central Office need to take a psychology class. It's as if they're so wrapped up in the wording of their policies and the math in their formulas that they forget about the humans involved. People don't even have to intentionally "cheat". If you put a gun to someone's head and tell them to lie, few of us would say the person is unethical for complying.

  • Here is an idea for changing the reform movement. Stop holding entire schools accountable and stop making everything "high stakes". If the data from surveys, grades, test scores, and everything else indicates the school is failing, then retrain or replace the principal. That's all you have to do. Instead the reform movement intends to destroy entire communities, and that's because it isn't about education.

  • Kill a school. Kill a community. And how they get away with it.

  • Your chronology needs revision.

  • Either way Donn, its a sin. And will continue if Rahm 'wins' again.

Leave a comment