Newark Visit, Fired Custodians, & 10th Day Enrollment

Newark Visit, Fired Custodians, & 10th Day Enrollment

Hi, all:  The news of the day includes coverage of Karen Lewis in Newark (where an educator won the mayoral election recently -- but not control of the school system), news of the custodians being fired, and concern at some schools like Goethe where the 10th day attendance projections haven't been met yet (deadline's today!). Plus lots of national news about ed tech and privacy, plus school districts getting tanks from the Pentagon.

POLITICS

CTU President Karen Lewis meets with Newark Mayor WGN-TV: The Chicago Sun-Times reports Chicago Teacher's Union President, Karen Lewis, another possible candidate for mayor, was in Newark, New Jersey over the past few days. She was talking with Newark's mayor, who also had a background in education.

Karen Lewis in Jersey to talk to Newark educator-turned-mayor Chicago Sun-Times: Possible mayoral hopeful Karen Lewis last week traveled to Newark and apparently took part in a series of meetings and seminars, including with the city's mayor, who happens to have a bit in common with Lewis.

Teachers Union Heads Get First-Hand Look at NJ School-Reform Hot Spots NJ Spotlight: The other was a stop in Newark by the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, the woman who led the nation's largest teachers strike in decades. While the visits were not coordinated -- the two unions are not affiliated -- but the timing of the two events

CUSTODIANS

Hundreds of school custodians to be laid off Catalyst: CPS head of Asset Management Leslie Norgren insists that the No. 1 goal of contracting with the private companies is to make the buildings cleaner. She says the second objective is to save money and the third is to make principals lives easier.

Chicago Public Schools to lay off 476 custodians Sun Times: The Chicago Public Schools will lay off 476 custodians this month, a district official said Saturday. The custodians will be notified of their job status by Sept. 30, CPS spokeswoman Leslie Norgren said.

MISC

No-homework policy improves home life for younger students at one CPS school Sun Times: Hamilton Elementary has replaced homework for kindergartners, and first- and second-graders this year with PDF — play, downtime and family time — along with lots of reading for fun.

Watchdog Accuses Chicago Public Schools Of Violating Open Records Law CBS: The problem might be the whole school system – a district with a $5.6 billion budget, more than 650 schools. more than 400,000 students, and nearly 42,000 employees – has only one person handling all FOIA requests.

Give Illinois students a choice Chicago Tribune: If we have great teachers in every classroom and funding to the tune of $13,000 per student per year, then how do we account for the ISBE statistic that less than half of Chicago Public Schools students meet state standards and only 26 percent are ...

2 Chicago area schools named for Obama family Northwest Herald: School officials with District 163 in Park Forrest announced Friday that the Beacon Hill school in Chicago Heights has been renamed the Barack Obama School of Leadership and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Forest Trail.

Goethe Elementary Seeks Students as Enrollment Deadline Looms DNA Info:  A Logan Square elementary school needs to enroll at least eight students by Monday night, or risk losing tens of thousands of dollars in funding.

OTHER CITIES

Strained ties cloud future of Deasy, LAUSD LA Times: The controversy engulfing Los Angeles Unified's $1.3-billion technology project has inflamed long-held tensions between the Board of Education and Supt. John Deasy, who is questioning whether he should step down.

New York City Charter Schools Test New Rent Rules WNYC: Ascend is among the first wave of charters seeking to take advantage of a state law approved in April that requires the city to give charters free space in public school buildings or pay their rent.

TEACHING

For Teachers, Many Paths Into The Classroom ... Some Say Too Many NPR:  One in five newly hired teachers has skipped university preparation for teaching. Indiana is the latest state to make entering the classroom easier.

Room for Debate: How to Diversify Teaching NYT: What can be done to make a career in education more attractive to men and people of color?

Ready To Work WNYC: Next, we'll spend time at a vocational school in one of America's wealthiest school districts in Lexington, MA. Then: a trip to Nashville, where failing schools have been turned into so-called "career academies" that focus on technical education.

TECHNOLOGY

With Tech Taking Over in Schools, Worries Rise NYT: Parent groups and privacy advocates are challenging the practices of an industry built on data collection, and California has passed wide-ranging legislation protecting students’ personal information.

Schools move toward ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies to boost student tech use Washington Post: His iPhone is on his desk, out in the open, and Joshua Perez’s teacher does not take it away. Instead, she asks the eighth-grader and his classmates in honors geometry at Argyle Magnet Middle School to Google the words “vertex form parabola.”

Using tablets to teach reading Marketplace: We're kicking off a week-long series on how technology is changing reading.

 

MISC

San Diego School District's New 18-Ton Armored Vehicle Creates Stir NPR: The mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or MRAP, will have teddy bears in it, school police officials say. The MRAP is a piece of military surplus equipment that's worth around $733,000.

California School Cops Received Military Rifles, Grenade Launchers, Armored Vehicles HuffPost: A Los Angeles Unified School District spokesperson who requested anonymity confirmed school police received the gear noted in the report. The district, which has 400 sworn officers, has been receiving military weaponry since 2001, the spokesperson said.

 

Comments

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  • what if private school parents took over the school board, insisting on private school placements on their special needs students, then eventually started closing schools that ended up being sold to private schools? it's all there on This American Life 534: A Not-So-Simple Majority http://ow.ly/Bw9QY

  • The Sun-Times' district/charter comparison was extremely misleading, notes @incschools' Andrew Broy http://ow.ly/BxhJ7 @bylaurenfitz

  • Russo,
    I’m glad you post the other side of the story, but this piece continues the usual charter misleading statements. Charter schools are know for thinning the crowd. 100 students enter at kindergarten but only 68 take the 3rd grade test and by 8th grade there is only 38 students. So of course they can boast that 83% meet or exceed. And they do not allow students to transfer in mid year like neighborhood schools are mandated to accept.

  • Hi. I'm new to this, but have a question about retention policies and thought someone here could inform me or point me in the right direction. I am confused about why students who fail math have to repeat all the subjects that they passed. I keep hearing about differentiated instruction, but it makes no sense to me why you would want to differentiate instruction for a sixth grade student who should be in 7th grade and who is actually ready for seventh grade instruction in language arts, science and social studies just because they are not ready for 7th grade math. I can't believe how many schools where this has happened to multiple students. This policy does not seem to match the overall instructional message of CPS at this time.

  • Large numbers of students who are failing math is probably a curricular issue.
    A child who fails reading should fail the grade because reading skills are needed in all subjects but Im not so sure with math. As a long time teacher I have seen very few children who just fail math unless they had a learning disability.
    Even children who are behind in reading, ELL or learning disabled can be taught to add, subtract, divide and multiply. They may not understand the totality of the concept but they will be able to compute. I have had many arguments with math teachers about this.The new math texts are reading intensive, lack the in depth practice needed for mastery and are written in such a confusing way that the parents can not help their children.
    I learned the "whys" of what I was doing in math when I took the courses in how to teach math in college. I may not have known the "concepts" of computing with fractions but I knew how to use fractions. I am sure if the math curriculum used today was used when I was in grammar school I would have failed math. BTW I had a high ACT score ( yes, math was my lowest score) and went to college on a scholarship.
    Parents need to actually look in the math books-2-3 pages on a concept is ludicrous. Teachers who know how to teach math do supplement these weak texts BUT some principals rate teachers low for supplementing. We now have children entering the upper grades who cannot regroup in subtraction (3rd grade skill) and go into withdrawal when the teacher says," no calculators"

    I am a proponent of retention in the early grades if needed but to fail a child for math only does not seem approprite given the weaknesses in our math curricula.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Thank you for your insights. I guess I'm interested in this issue because I'm thankful that my school administrator able to have the flexibility to place me in a remedial math class at the same time I was in honors English and social studies back when I was a student. I know there are many issues at CPS now, but this is an area where a bit of flexibility in a policy could have a positive impact on the lives of students who are being forced to repeat courses that they did not fail.

  • Headache299
    CPS Principals Say Schools Are Filthy
    Watch an interview with LaRaviere:
    http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2014/09/17/cps-principals-say-schools-are-filthy

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