Janitors, Politics, & Marshall High School

Janitors, Politics, & Marshall High School

Today's news includes more back and forth about the benefits of privatizing school custodial services, while at the same time there are concerns about the removal of the principal at Marshall (and potentially at other troubled schools). A Washington website looks at the impact of the Karen Lewis/Rahm Emanuel mudslinging on national unions and reform efforts.


Chicago Schools CEO: privatizing janitorial services not 'as smooth as we would like' WBEZ: CPS employs 825 custodian positions that are covered by SEIU Local 73 and none of those positions are being cut, according to district officials. However, many of those board-funded janitors have been reassigned to cover other schools as a result of the layoffs.

Union says layoffs will hurt school cleanliness Chicago Daily Herald: The union representing custodians in Chicago Public Schools said Monday that it will be difficult to keep schools clean once a private company takes over the work.

Byrd-Bennett: CPS cleaning contractors will be held accountable Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Public Schools is holding its private cleaning contractors accountable for complaints of filthy buildings being lodged by principals and conditions will change, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told reporters Monday after speaking to the City Club of ...


What the Chicago mayor's race says about the future of education politics Vox: Political observers say Lewis and her confrontational style had an immediate effect on the Chicago Teachers Union's umbrella group, the American Federation of Teachers. While Emanuel is a supporter of charter schools who's generally seen as being a reform-friendly, reformers don't hurry to claim Chicago as a hotbed of change, which could blunt the election's symbolic weight.

Chicago parents give school closures a poor report card Al Jazeera America: Several political developments in recent years have had education issues at their core, from the election of a reform caucus to lead the Chicago Teachers Union in 2010 to an ongoing campaign to change the Mayor-appointed board to an elected school ...


Marshall HS principal's ouster sparks confusion, questions Chicago Sun-Times: CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said after a speech at the City Club of Chicago that school had been on academic probation for 18 years.

Marshall principal laid off Catalyst: Johnson will be replaced by Lori Campbell, who served as the principal of Piccolo Elementary School, when it was made into an AUSL turnaround.  It is unclear whether the principals of the other high schools--Julian, Tilden, Kelyvn Park, Chicago Vocational, Hirsch and Corliss--will stay in their posts.

Teachers and students outraged over sudden firing of principal WGN: Chicago Public Schools officials explained the decision to teachers and staffers and introduced a new principal Monday morning after an impromptu protest was held outside the school at 3250 W. Adams St.


NCLB waiver extended for seven districts EdSource:  After months of negotiations, seven California school districts have received a one-year extension of the waivers from the federal government exempting them from key provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in return for meeting a slew of new requirements. See also PK12.

Charter school enrollments increased by 13 percent nationally Washington Post: Nationwide, about 2.5 million public school students were enrolled in charter schools last school year, up from 789,000 a decade earlier, according to the most recent enrollment estimates from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

David Boies, eyeing education through a civil rights lens Washington Post: David Boies, the superlawyer who chairs a group that is trying to overturn teacher tenure laws in New York and elsewhere, said Monday that his organization is not looking to take the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court — at least not in the short run.

California school district rewrites menu for student lunches PBS NewsHour: Finally tonight:  With the new school year now in full swing, one urban district in California [Oakland] is implementing an ambitious plan to transform their lunch program to provide healthier, locally sourced food.

The Case for Having Class Discussions on Twitter Atlantic: Lively debate and direct quotes continue to fill the threads four hours after school has ended. Students upload pictures of their annotated texts and ask their classmates to help them understand the nuances of iambic pentameter.


New Rochelle Struggles Amid Rice’s Unraveling NYT: Now that Ray Rice, a hometown football hero, has been dismissed from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely from the National Football League, the New Rochelle High School community is struggling to determine how to react.

Regents Weigh New Routes to a High School Diploma WNYC: If approved by the Regents next month, high school students could substitute one of the two social studies exams with a test in career and technical education, the arts or humanities. They would still have to take Regents exams in English, math and science to meet federal requirements. See also ChalkbeatNY



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  • This entire discussion about the contracts to Aramark and SodexoMAGIC seems to be framed in a vacuum. Let's go back in time and look at principal's complaints about custodial workers not doing their jobs and principals wanting authority to hire and fire these workers. If you don't believe me look at this article articles.chicagotribune.com/.../8702150914_1_public-schools-lunchroom-s... It's from June 1987 and was written by James W. Compton, then president of the Chicago Urban League.

    He wrote 27 years ago: "The imbalance of power among the principal, lunchroom manager and building engineer should be eliminated. Principals must have the ability to evaluate the performance of a school employee after seeing that performance daily. The legislature must put one person in control of an entire school, with the authority and accountability that educating today`s youngsters requires." Ultimately principals got more power, but that power really was concerned only with the efficiency of their own school buildings and not the overall costs of the school district.

    The reality is that schools will more than likely be less clean using these private contractors, but the bottom line is its cheaper, even taking into consideration questionable deals that were made. Eventually the current deteriorated standard of school cleanliness will become unfortunately the norm. Once the deeper fiscal crisis of CPS hits after the Mayoral elections many worse things are likely to occur no matter who is elected Mayor unless the people of Chicago are willing to increase their property tax rate for schools which is the about the lowest in Cook county. The dream that CPS will be bailed out by the state, a commuter tax, or by a TIF windfall is I suspect just that a dream.

    Rod Estvan

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