Teacher Pushes Back On WBEZ "Sorting" Story

Teacher Pushes Back On WBEZ "Sorting" Story

There's lots of commentary about the just-passed CPS budget -- was it a stopgap measure, or an out and out gimmick? Plus there's the departure of the Ogden principal for ... well, you know. Most interesting to me in today's roundup is Ray Salazar's blog post pushing back against the recent WBEZ data story about high school sifting, which most took as an indictment of the system through which many CPS students no longer attend their neighborhood high schools.  


Chicago Public Schools Students Show School Choice Happens Ray Salazar: Students don't fit in neighborhood high schools.  Neighborhood high schools struggle with politics and demographics.  Some neighborhood parents get savvier." Salazar's conclusion? "Our Conclusions Need Adjusting."


CPS defends its 'gimmick-based' 2015 budget Crain's Chicago Business: Chicago Public Schools officials are fully sticking with their decision to enact a fiscal 2015 budget that one watchdog group labelled a "gimmick-based stopgap." But they're also admitting that major financial problems are on the way for the troubled system.

Emanuel blames state for phony school budget The Capitol Fax Blog: He argued that he had no choice when Illinois ranks 50th among 50 states in school funding and Chicago Public Schools has a pension crisis that still has not been solved.

Emanuel uses gimmick in new $6B CPS budget WLS: But that change has failed many times in Springfield and with the Supreme Court appearing to be very unsympathetic to letting politicians off the hook for generous pension payments, this gimmick creates an unsustainable future for Chicago Public Schools.


Ogden Principal Joshua VanderJagt Steps Down After Bullying Incident
DNAinfo: "Mr. VanderJagt has asked to be reassigned within the District and I have granted this request," Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement issued Friday.

School principal stepping down after anti-Semitic bullying incident
MyFox Chicago: "Mr. VanderJagt has asked to be reassigned within the District and I have granted this request," Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said

Jewish student shown pictures of ovens, told to 'get in' by classmates Examiner: Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in a statement Friday that she has granted his request. "I agree with Mr. VanderJagt that the students, parents and the school community will be best served by a new principal of their choosing,"


Former CPS official's credentials in question, progressive politics, summer school Catalyst:  Terrence Carter, who went from principal at Barton Elementary School to chief academic officer at Academy for Urban School Leadership, is having trouble getting his contract approved as superintendent of New London School District in Connecticut.

Comings and Goings: Price, King, Okezie-Phillips, new principals Catalyst: These interim principals have become contract principals at their schools: Antonio Acevedo, Whittier Elementary; Femi Skanes, Al Raby High School; Adam Stich, Hitch Elementary.

FitzPatrick, Karp, and Lutton talking schools at the Hideout! Chicago Reader That would be the incomparable Lauren FitzPatrick of the Sun-Times, Sarah Karp of Catalyst, and Linda Lutton of WBEZ. Take a bow, ladies! Nobody—not even Mayor Rahm—knows more about education in Chicago than these three. [Roz Rossi, anyone?]


Campbell Brown’s group to file teacher tenure suit ChalkbeatNY: A group of seven families led by the news-anchor-turned-education-activist Campbell Brown will file a complaint in state court on Monday. The suit, to be filed in Albany by Brown’s group, is the second such case in New York and follows a California ruling in June that deemed teacher tenure laws in that state unconstitutional.

Feds back English learner lawsuit against state EdSource via Hechinger: The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California has found an ally in the U.S. Department of Justice for its lawsuit charging that the state abdicated its obligation to ensure all students classified as English learners get extra instructional services to become fluent in English. The lawsuit, filed in April 2013, is set for a one-day trial next week in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Learning To Read May Take Longer Than We Thought NPR: A Dartmouth study suggests that fifth-graders are still "learning to read," not just "reading to learn."

Balancing Special-Education Needs With Rising Costs NYT: The City of New York pays for about 12,000 special-needs students per year to receive private school educations. Parents contend that the city fights too many of these requests, delaying important services to students in the process.

Calif. Newspaper Can't Access Teacher Growth Scores With Names, Court Rules Teacher Beat: The latest in a back-and-forth between The Los Angeles Times and the nation's second-largest district over access to teacher "value added" information.



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  • That was a strange argument by Mr. Salazar in relation to the social economic class fit of neighborhood high schools as being an appropriate rationale for declining community based enrollments at these high schools. He is correct about gentrification of community around Clemente HS, but if one draws a line from Damen east to the Lake from Chicago Ave north to end of the City one will see that the vast majority of both Hispanic families that owned homes or rented have moved out. For a working class Hispanic family that bought a home east of Damen in the 1960s they are realizing massive capital gains and income to supplement their retirements, they can't just transfer these homes to their children because of the inheritance taxes, so they have gotten out.

    For the most part even unionized CPS teachers can't afford a stand alone home east of Damen on the north side of the City unless there is significant additional income for the family. Eventually, public high schools in these near Lake communities will either be significantly white or they will be closed. Because of the growing fiscal crisis of CPS there will be more consolidations in the future and if upper income families in the near lake front areas do not populate these high schools CPS will eventually shut them down.

    I live on the last east west street in the uptown community and when we bought our home 33 years ago the street was about 35 precent Hispanic and 25 percent Asian. Now there are two Hispanic owned homes left and no Hispanic renters left, since it is at least $900 a month for even a very small apartment. Most rental buildings have converted to condos. Even the Asian population has declined, and a former Hispanic owned two flat that was converted to a one family home just sold for $1.2 million.

    Now being over 60 years old I grew up on the near north side and went to school with primarily Puerto Rican, Mexican, and white ethnic children. Not one of the Hispanic families I grew up with is still living in or near the lake front. Most of my childhood friends moved to the suburbs and some of their children barely speak Spanish. There is no turning back gentrification it has been on the march in Chicago since the 1960s, if our family did not have a joint gross income of over $200,000 a year we would be gone too, the realizable cash for our home simply would have been too tempting.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Rod, thanks for reading. I didn't argue that the drop in neighborhood high schools is appropriate. I argued that it's more complex that a sort. BEZ's reporting did not include the socio-economic factors that's influence school enrollment. Your examples are right on point with the data I present in the commentary.

  • i think ray's main point is that the WBEZ story makes the sorting look intentional / bad when it may not be so simple or bad as all that.

    lutton's response to ray was that WBEZ was just providing data, and would do a grammar school version soon.


  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Thanks for including my commentary, Alexander, and for re-iterating my viewpoint above.

  • oh, goody: Chicago Teachers Union, progressives form new Chicago coalition [United Working Families] | Sun Times - http://ow.ly/zG8II

  • We don't need or want an outside group coming into Chicago pretending they are some grassroots organization. It is insulting that they are falsely claiming to represent families! It is the same smoke screen as others like Stand for Children and DFER. Just a different "flavor" being union backed. Go back to Wisconsin to peddle your crap!

  • Wasn't it Hirsch that had attendance boundary students attending something like 70 or 80 different high schools? That just amazes me.

    Unfortunately, talking about choice masks what, to me, a clearly negative reality: In many high poverty areas families flee their local student group when given the opportunity. A great many families are consciously choosing the opposite of community building when they have a choice of where their adolescent goes to high school.

    I'm not sure how to fit my thoughts into Rays well thought out points. Is there ever really stability, or just points in time when were comfortable for awhile?

  • Didn't WBEZ also quote the guy that invented this 'choice' model....I think he was from West Coast...and he was quoted as saying he doesn't like what he sees as far as sorting, intentional or not. The fact is charters were a brilliant idea to cut red tape so teachers could teach, and anti-union anti-labor anti-middle class politicians used them to break the unions. Charters should start standing up for how they are being used as pawns because now more and more laws are being made to control your schools. Pretty soon there will be no difference between charters and public schools, except your teachers will have no rights, and the first time a parent accuses a teacher of doing something wrong, regardless of evidence, the principal will fire the teacher. These days it's easier to replace a teacher than it is a student worth $4,000 in our Student Based Budgeting model, in large part due to the 'choice' system, which is mostly false choices as education isn't any better at charters, just cheaper.

  • In the war between charter vs. public the only people that win are the 1% who don't have to pay more taxes to properly fund education. Charters do the same job public schools do for a "savings", which in the 'business model' is seen as a gain, although it discounts the fact they are skimming the best students and doing no better. When public schools skim the best students via magnet schools they do much, much better than charter or neighborhood schools. Either way, the citizens lose and the rich get richer.

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