Karen's Back - Plus A $900K Theft

Karen's Back - Plus A $900K Theft

Welcome back -- sorry about the cold!  Today's education roundup includes news that Karen Lewis is back to part-time duty at CTU and a couple of items about Danny Solis challenger (and Lindblom teacher) Ed Hershey.  There's also a disheartening piece about how some CPS employees and vendors stole nearly $900,000 in public funding. The other big news, in case you haven't been watching for a while, I've changed over to Facebook comments (though you can also use your email to comment, apparently).

CPS inspector general: Employee orchestrated $870K billing fraud
Chicago Tribune: A former Chicago Public Schools employee, with help from colleagues and vendors, orchestrated the theft of more than $870,000 by fraudulently billing the district for goods and services, according to the annual report from the district's inspector general.

POLITICS

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.

Garcia seeks support among black voters in Chicago mayor's race Tribune: Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia campaigned with African-American supporters on Tuesday, releasing a list of backers heavy on union leaders and community organizers and light on elected officials.

CHALLENGERS

Meet Danny Solis's challengers in the 25th Ward Chicago Reader: Ed Hershey It was Karen Lewis and her initial decision to run for mayor that inspired science teacher Ed Hershey to run for alderman. Hershey, one of several educators running for alderman across the city, teaches honors physics at Lindblom. See also Second City Teacher.

SCHOOLS

Dyett High to reconfigure, remain open Gazette Chicago: ... of the community have expressed a strong interest in a new school at the Dyett site, and we look forward to working with the community to develop a new high-quality option for students living in the neighborhood,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

Mariachi connects schools, families in Chicago AP: Jose Torres smiles as he thinks about how his 12-year-old daughter has embraced learning the same mariachi music he plays at home during a new Chicago Public Schools program that teaches the Mexican songs, linking the family's culture with the classroom....

2 Sun-Times staffers win top honors for education writing Chicago Sun-Times: ... of dollars in state funding and the ouster of the two top officials of the clout-heavy United Neighborhood Organization. Deputy editorial page editor Kate N. Grossman won the top prize for opinion writing for a series of editorials on school ...

NATIONAL

Inside a Chinese Test-Prep Factory NYT: Thousands of students travel to Maotanchang to spend 16 hours a day, seven days a week, studying for the biggest test of their lives.

Parents Issue Cry for Help with Common Core Math Homework WNYC: Math problems are often crafted so that students need to apply mathematical concepts to real life situations. Ja’Niah Payne’s teacher, Peter Schmitt, thinks the new standards promote more rigorous thinking.

Common Core Repeal, The Day After NPR: The Common Core had a rough year. The learning standards were repealed in three states, including Oklahoma. But what happens the day after a state repeals its academic standards?

Home Schooling: More Pupils, Less Regulation NYT: Known for one of the strictest home-school laws in the nation, Pennsylvania has relaxed some requirements, and that has brought it to the forefront in a lobbying war.

With eye on 2016, Jeb Bush resigns from all boards Washington Post: Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, moving closer to a possible presidential run, has resigned all of his corporate and nonprofit board memberships, including with his own education foundation, his office said late Wednesday night.

Kansas court orders more state spending on schools AP: Kansas isn't spending enough money on its public schools to provide a suitable education for every child, a state district court panel ruled Tuesday in an order that could mean the state has to boost its aid by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.... See also KPCC: Is more education money helping California schools?

Six Education Stories To Watch in 2015 NPR: A veteran reporter's view on the hot-button issues in the coming year: Police in schools, the fallout from the Vergara case and more. See also here. WNYC here. EdSource here.

States Slow To Shut Down Weak Teacher Education Programs HuffPost: In a five-year period between 2009-10 and 2013-14, states reported closing or preventing enrollments at fewer than 60 subject-area or grade-level teacher-preparation programs, according to an Education Week analysis. There are an estimated 25,000 such programs in the United States, mostly housed at colleges and universities. The closure or suspension of entire teacher education schools, departments, or providers is rarer still; states reported just 12 such examples between 2009-10 and 2013-14, typically at smaller schools.

OTHER CITIES

Schools provide educational and mental health support to influx of undocumented teens PBS NewsHour: Nearly 100 miners [sic] who came to the U.S. without their parents make up about a quarter of the student body at Oakland International High School in California. Altogether, nearly 60,000 unaccompanied minors were caught at the border this year.

Why Have A Longer School Day? Boston Learning Lab: Boston school officials and union leaders have reached an agreement to increase daily learning time by 40 minutes for nearly 23,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced last week. See also EdWeek.

Cuomo Veto Highlights Difficulties of Firing a Teacher NYT: Fewer than 1 percent of the state’s teachers were rated ineffective last year; those so rated can appeal and even go on to win their case before an arbiter. See also WNYC

Maryland county adds Spanish immersion programs at three elementary schools Washington Post: Kindergarten teacher Mariluz Mendez flipped over several flashcards and waited for her students to identify the images.When she raised the picture of a shower, the students yelled “ducha” in unison.When she revealed an image of a dolphin, they hesitated.

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