Today's news roundup includes reactions to the Illinois pension lawsuit, more reactions to the CTU candidate evaluation (does it go too far?), an update from Catalyst about a parent opt out bill and a big story about Rahm's troubled relationship with the African-American community. There's part 2 of Chicago Magazine's interview with CTU head Jesse Sharkey, and updates from the Garcia campaign about signatures and the campaign rollout. Plus national news and news from other cities (they're fighting about charter vs. district pushouts in NYC).
How Jesse Sharkey Became the New Head of the CTU Chicago Magzine: "I went to work at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, the sprawling high school you see from the Skyway. I was teaching what CPS calls social studies, which encompasses history, culture, geography, and economics. I stayed there for three years before transferring to Senn."
Tough lessons for Rahm Catalyst: Black communities, more so than any other neighborhoods in Chicago, have been dramatically affected by the education reform policies championed by Emanuel. The neighborhoods are simultaneously struggling with crime, high unemployment, loss of wealth as a result of the housing crisis and a dire need for economic investment.
Labor unions celebrate judge's ruling against Illinois pension law WBEZ: Labor groups sued the State of Illinois for passing a bill reducing their members’ pension benefits. The unions representing downstate and suburban teachers, university employees and most other state workers argued the state constitution says, specifically, that retirement benefits can’t be diminished. On Friday, Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz agreed.
Chicago Teachers Union Turns Tables on Politicians With 'Candidate Evaluation ...
NBC Chicago: If you're a political candidate seeking endorsement from the powerful Chicago Teachers Union, then you must fill out a "candidate evaluation" form to measure your worthiness. It's an amusing new strategy for the CTU, one that offers clever commentary ...
Parents push for testing 'opt-out' bill Catalyst: Last year, when parents tried to opt their children out of taking the ISAT (the state-mandated standardized test), the state board sent CPS a letter stating that parents had no right to do so. As a result, students themselves had to refuse. A couple thousand students opted out of the test, activists say.
Garcia says he has 60000 signatures for mayoral run Chicago Sun-Times: Garcia jumped into the mayoral fray late last month, hoping to appeal to Emanuel critics disappointed that County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis did not run. See also WGN, Sun Times
Oppenheimer awards end Catalyst: The Oppenheimers plan to partner with another education organization through which to funnel their money and continue their mission of supporting teacher-developed, hands-on projects in classrooms. Over the years, the foundation has awarded grants totalling $3.7 million to 7,348 teachers. In its final ceremony this evening, the foundation will award 263 grants totalling $157,000.
Advance Illinois report Catalyst: Overall, elementary school students have made small gains in reading and math, with CPS students making gains at a faster rate than students elsewhere. It’s worth noting that the report measures gains made on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam, which is a tougher test than the state’s ISAT and is probably more in line with the new Common Core-aligned tests that students will take this school year.
CPS students react to Obama's immigration executive order: teaching controversial issues in the classroom Ray Salazar: Teaching writing allows me numerous opportunities to help students see how what we read and write matters in the real world outside of our classroom. Yesterday, I gave students the opportunity to understand and react to President Obama’s speech about his immigration executive order.
Orozco Local School Council Moves to Fire Principal Nancy Paulette-Aguirre DNA Info: In an emotionally-charged meeting, Orozco Elementary's local school council moved to fire the school's principal Thursday. Now that the Pilsen school's council has voted to fire her, CPS will approve or deny the recommendation.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan's communications chief leaving for Teach For TFA Washington Post: Education Secretary Arne Duncan is losing his second communications chief in two years. Massie Ritsch, the acting assistant secretary for communications and outreach, is leaving his job to take a new position at TFA.
Duncan Wants NAEP Leaders to Help Shape 'Assessment 3.0' PK12: In remarks at the quarterly meeting of the National Assessment Governing Board, Duncan said that NAEP data helped drive states into a conversation about the need for better tests that held students to higher, shared expectations. To facilitate that, the U.S. Department of Education awarded $360 million in 2010 to two groups of states, the PARCC and Smarter Balanced consortia, to design assessments for the Common Core State Standards.
Texas Approves Disputed History Texts for Schools NYT: Texas’ State Board of Education has approved new history textbooks, capping months of outcry over lessons that some academics say exaggerate the influence of Moses and negatively portray Muslims. See also WNYC.
Tennessee’s Common Core backtrack strands teachers, students Hechinger Report: For the past three years, that’s included a significant shift away from the state’s traditional academic benchmarks and toward the Common Core, a set of more difficult standards.
New York Chancellor Is Criticized for Remarks on Charter Schools NYT: Carmen Fariña said at a conference that some charter schools push students out before they take state tests and later replace them with high-scoring children.
At union rallies across L.A., teachers seek more than just a pay hike LA Times: The demonstrations were intended to make a statement about union solidarity over contract demands. United Teachers Los Angeles is seeking a one-year, permanent 10% raise, while also putting forward an agenda on staffing levels, classroom conditions and policies aimed at improving academic results.
School district near Ferguson cancels classes AP: A school district that includes some students from Ferguson, Missouri, is calling off classes Monday and Tuesday, citing potential unrest if a much-anticipated grand jury announcement occurs soon....
News Analysis: Studying for the Test by Taking It NYT: The process of testing can deepen learning.
‘Blended-learning’ programs grow in D.C., with students relying more on computers Washington Post: When Ketcham Elementary School was selected to roll out a schoolwide computer-based learning initiative, Principal Maisha Riddlesprigger was skeptical about “putting kids in front of computers.” Less than two years later, the effort has brought her school a kind of celebrity status.
Parent-trigger school tracks progress Victorville Daily: Desert Trails drew national attention as the first traditional public school to be converted into a charter school under California’s Parent Empowerment Act, also known as the parent trigger legislation. School officials said the results showed they were meeting their goals since the school opened as a charter in July 2013.