Today's education news: School's closed (it's cold!). Alternative programs fueling spike in graduation rate may not be high-quality. Everybody hates the Rauner budget -- Rahm and CTU agree for once. Emanuel's winning (Obama's coming). Als0: Los Angeles may be heading towards a Chicago-style teachers strike. All this and more below.
Same diploma, different school? WBEZ: A WBEZ and Catalyst Chicago analysis of that expansion has found that the district is on a troubling path toward its goal to re-enroll dropouts as it turns to new, largely unproven, mostly online alternative schools to educate more students.
COLD, PARENTS, PRINCIPALS
Chicago cancels classes Thursday due to extreme cold WBEZ: According to Chicago Public Schools, its classes are cancelled on Thursday, Feb. 19, due to a forecast that is predicting extreme cold temperatures and winds. See also Sun-Times, Washington Post: Anatomy of a school closing: How Fairfax County officials make the call on snow days.
Lane Tech Principal Resigns, Leaving for Suburban Deerfield DNAinfo: "I felt supported," he said of his relationship with CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett, noting that he was a member of a principal advisory group that met with the school chief on a monthly basis.
One mom's empathy for PARCC test critics Tribune: I have to believe teachers feel about the PARCC exam a little like I feel about those reading logs: Quit assessing and just let me teach. They'll learn, I promise. They might even enjoy it. Just stop trying to quantify it all the time. Which is why I stand with the PARCC critics.
Obama visit to Pullman days before Emanuel re-election bid Tribune: President Barack Obama will visit Chicago on Thursday to designate the Pullman factory district a national monument, while also providing a boost to Mayor Rahm Emanuel five days before he's up for re-election.
CPS Investigating Mell Campaign Ad Placed On School Website Progress IL: For her part, Mell said she was made aware of the ad Monday morning by friends who saw it being discussed on Twitter. "I immediately called CPS and said, 'This is what's happening, take it down immediately,'" said the alderman. "I think it was supporters who got carried away. But it's not helping me. That's not what I want."
Rahm Emanuel rallies in Chicago mayoral The Hill: The former congressman has also created an air of inevitability around his reelection, after two potentially strong Democratic opponents, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, decided to forego
Critics Slam Rauner's Budget Over 'Morally Reprehensible' Cuts Progress IL: Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling for massive cuts to health care, education and other vital services as part of his budget blueprint to "turnaround" Illinois. Progress Illinois rounds up some of the praise and outrage that has poured in following Rauner's first budget address. See also Reader, CTU response, Crain's.
Emanuel slams Rauner budget Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel slammed Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget on Wednesday, accusing the Republican of trying to balance the state’s budget on the backs of children and working families.
Teachers union takes first legal step towards strike that could close Los Angeles Unified schools LA Daily News: After seven months and 18 rounds of cantankerous contract talks, Los Angeles Unified administrators and leaders of the district's 35,000-member teachers union finally found common ground Wednesday when United Teachers Los Angeles made its first legally required step toward a strike.
New York Compels 20 School Districts to Lower Barriers to Immigrants NYT: The districts, which were found to be illegally blocking enrollment of undocumented immigrant children, will stop requests to prove residency and train enrollment officials.
Oklahoma May Scrap AP History For Focusing On America's 'Bad Parts' NPR: In Oklahoma, state lawmakers are debating a bill that would axe the teaching of Advanced Placement courses in U.S. history. The reason? Some believe the classes focus too much on what is "bad about America." The bill, which passed easily through a committee this week, outlines what should and shouldn't be taught in the classroom. See also HuffPost.
Washington State Panel Mulls Bill to Trim Vaccine Exemptions AP: House committee considers measure to remove 'personal belief' vaccine exemption in Washington.
9 reasons Finland's schools are so much better than America's Vox: Finland might be a popular example because, no matter your general beliefs on education policy, you can find something to back them up. The result turns into a policy wonk buffet — nearly everybody can a policy lesson to learn from Finland's success, or a factor that explains why it isn't replicable in the US. Even if some of those lessons directly contradict each other.