School Ratings - But No Closures

School Ratings - But No Closures

Happy Monday -- I'm back.  Thanks to everyone who kept reading and commenting while I was away. The big stories of the last few days include last week's non-action on school closings, the new school quality reports, updates on Karen Lewis's health, and the launch of the Emanuel mayoral campaign (though not at Coonley this time). Plus national and local education news from other cities. Check it all out below.


CPS deadline here to announce school actions Chicago Sun-Times: No closures are expected, because CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said in November 2012 that she'd impose a 5-year moratorium on school closings if the legislature would grant her a one-time extension of the deadline to consider which schools to close. In May ...


New school ratings show mixed bag Catalyst: As Phillips High School’s football team recently made its way to the state championship game, media accounts went beyond celebrating the accomplishment in sports: The all-black, all low-income school was lauded for earning the district’s highest academic rating last year.

Today’s long-delayed release of the latest ratings offer a sobering picture: Phillips is the only school to fall from the top rating last year to the bottom this year and is among only 44 schools (7 percent of 670 schools in the district, and including nine charters) to land at the bottom under a new rating system. Last year, nearly 30 percent of schools got the lowest

New School Ratings out CPS Obsessed: Instead of Level 1,2,3 there is now 1+, 1, 2+, 2, and 3.  So if you look at a school see if it has a plus or not.Over half the schools in CPS are now Level 1 (meaning 1+ and 1) which is considered good standing. Very few schools are Level 3 anymore (previously 185, now 44.) [58 comments]

CPS to give schools new ratings to judge success and trouble Chicago Tribune: Byrd-Bennett elected to grant a Level 1 rating to 12 schools that would have normally received lower ratings using the new metrics, because those schools underwent a significant change in student population, teacher makeup or principal leadership

CPS finally releases school ratings WBEZ:  One of the big changes was moving to five categories, instead of three. Now, schools can be rated Level 1+, Level 1, Level 2+, Level 2, and Level 3. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett can also override a school’s rating if something dramatic had happened at the school in the past year. Byrd-Bennett changed the ratings for just 12 schools. She also placed six charter schools on an academic watch list.


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel kicks off bid for second term Tribune: Four years ago, recently departed White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel chose the crowded gymnasium of a North Side elementary school [Coonley] to formally kick off what he'd been building up to for weeks: a run for mayor of Chicago. This time, however, he won't do it at a school, a location that might conjure up images of his most controversial decisions: nearly 50 closed schools with doors chained shut and angry teachers walking the picket line for a week.

CTU President Karen Lewis trying 'to resume some of her duties' Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said Thursday, in her first interview since being hospitalized for a brain tumor that halted her plans to run for mayor, that she's eager to campaign for mayoral challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

CPS tests causing more anxiety in teacher evaluations WBEZ: When pressed by board member Jesse Ruiz at the end of the meeting, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she thought maybe Chambers was worried specifically about her own students, who need special services.

Pausing to praise CPS Chicago Sun-Times [Byrd-Bennett]: I rarely pass up the chance to sing the praises of the students, teachers and administrators in Chicago Public Schools. I find it especially gratifying when others are singing along with me

CPS moves into TAMS building in Bridgeport Gazette Chicago: “CPS is making a dedicated effort to reduce central office spending and direct as much funding as possible to classrooms throughout the city,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.


Black Chicago high school and their white Canadian football coach offer hope as U.S. torn by racial discord National Post: But against this backdrop of racial discord and ongoing black despair, in a place where hope can be hard to find for a young black man, Jamal Brown is part of a new story, a small but promising case study of possibility: It is about his black inner-city high school football team and their white Canadian football coach.

Doctor makes house calls in Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods Tribune: Though the family moved often, they resided around 63rd Street and Wolcott Avenue, an area of low income and high unemployment and crime. Gladys carried the financial load for the family, somehow keeping her four kids in Catholic schools.

China-run Confucius Institutes under fire in U.S. schools, like CPS Chicago Tribune: A congressional subcommittee on Thursday heard from critics who question the influence of the Chinese government on a language and culture program that is well established at Chicago Public Schools and last year debuted at the University of Illinois at


Educators question future progress if Mississippi backs away from Common Core Hechinger Report: Educators across Mississippi say the already-lagging state will “move backwards” if Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves throw out the Common Core academic standards and create new ones.

Military-Style Technology Finds Way Into School District Safety Measures NYT: Many experts say limited resources may be better spent on mental health services and training for teachers and students on what to do if their peers talk about bringing a gun to school.

Nine-Year-Old’s Arrest Prompts Call for Change by Federal Judge WSJ: The increased involvement of police at schools has led to an increase in schoolchildren arrests, phenomena that make for shocking headlines (8-year-old arrested in school bomb threat) and have led to a new, funny-if-it-weren’t-true formulation: the school-to-prison pipeline.


LAUSD students hope for iPads, prepare for disappointment KPCC: It's been a roller coaster ride for Los Angeles Unified School District students who were promised iPads that would usher in a new chapter in how they'll learn and take tests in the digital age.

FBI at the door is just the latest bad news for L.A. school district LA Times: With three weeks left in December, I'm hesitant to jump the gun and suggest that we've seen the last of this year's troubles for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

School systems tout huge scholarship dollars, but not all of the money is used Washington Post: In Maryland, the boasts are big: For the second year in a row, state leaders have bragged that Maryland’s high school graduates were offered more than $1 billion in scholarships for college. It is a heady pronouncement, more than double the total seven years ago.

Demographics complicate Hartford desegregation AP: The shrinking population of white students in Hartford's suburbs is complicating efforts to comply with Connecticut's landmark school desegregation settlement - and even making it harder for some of the capital city's students to attend new schools created to help meet the racial integration goals set by the lawsuit 25 years ago.

Teachers Go Door-Knocking In Nashville NPR: In Nashville, Tenn., several public schools are struggling to compete with nearby charters. To recruit more students, teachers are tearing a page from the charter playbook: going door to door.

New York’s Deal With Principals’ Union Includes Back Pay NYT: New York City has reached a tentative contract deal with the union representing school principals that would raise their salaries substantially and give them retroactive pay, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Saturday.

Teachers Take Student Data to the Micro-Level in One NYC School WNYC: Multi-page lesson plans cover everything from who sits where (which often changes daily, in response to how students are behaving and where they are with the material) to the precise number of minutes to be dedicated in a class period to lecturing, individual work, and group practice.

What The Movies Taught Us About Teaching NPR: As part of the 50 Great Teachers series, NPR's Bob Mondello looks at what Hollywood has taught us about teachers.


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