Wednesday AM CPS News Roundup

Wednesday AM CPS News Roundup

Testing continues -- along with a new report on how some CPS teachers feel about the new questions. (See also national news about how the testing is going in other places.) Meanwhile, organizers explain how they grew the movement that is challenging City Hall. CPS still won't say if it vetted a teacher before hiring him. A fake Harvard rejection letter from a Francis Parker student has gone viral. Elsewhere, they're pink-slipping teachers in LA (and preparing for a possible strike). The USDE won't let a NYC charter school give extra priority for ELL kids in its annual lottery. 

TESTING

PARCC survey: Better than ISAT but maybe not on grade level Sun-Times: CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said testing problems were limited Tuesday. Logandale Middle School had some login trouble, he said.

MISHAPS

CPS still silent on fate of teacher removed from classroom Chicago Tribune: More than two months after removing a high school French teacher from the classroom, Chicago Public Schoolsadministrators have yet to reveal publicly whether the man, who left an earlier job in the wake of a texting controversy, was properly vetted.

Parents Upset School's "Black Lives Matter" Event Excluded Other Races NBC Chicago: A Black History Month event at a suburban Chicago high school stirred controversy among some parents and students. Several parents “expressed confusion and concern” after white students weren't allowed to participate in a “Black Lives Matter” event.

POLITICS

Ald. Mell 'happy' she may avoid runoff, rival vows to keep 'going ahead' Chicago Sun-Times: Last week, Meegan — a Chicago Public Schools teacher who is endorsed by the Chicago Teachers Union — filed the required legal paperwork...

How Chicago’s Grassroots Movements Defeated Rahm Emanuel at the Polls In These Times: Community and labor organizers have been waging a clear, escalating fight against the corporate agenda. The foundation for the February 24 election was built over four years of coalition work; popular education; big, bold fights; and a clear analysis around race and class. Our movement is broad and deep. Here’s how we built it.

See also Washingtonian: Rahm Emanuel Takes a Page From Adrian Fenty's Playbook.

MISC

U. of C. planning new building for Woodlawn charter school Hyde Park Herald: Plans to build a new school building for University of Chicago Charter Schools’ Woodlawn Campus are in the works, according to the school’s leadership. “Our mission is 100 percent graduation,” said Shayne Evans, chief executive officer and director of the University of Chicago Charter School and managing director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. “We want to create a space that represents the expectations we have for our young people.”

25th Anniversary Almanac Catalyst:  Our most recent entry looks at the unfortunate timing of the $150 million Chicago Annenberg Challenge and the initiative’s legacy in the Chicago Public Education Fund.

Fake Harvard rejection letter makes light of admissions season Boston Globe: Molly McGaan, who attends the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, created a faux Harvard University rejection letter that was widely circulated online this week, full of references to hip-hop mix tapes and Internet memes. The 18-year-old, who really applied to Harvard, thought the joke was obvious enough.

COMMON CORE (NATIONAL)

Jindal Rips Iowa Ads That Are Seen As Defending Bush BuzzFeed News: “If voters want to vote for someone who’s pro-Common Core, they’re going to have an opportunity to do that in this election,” Jindal tells BuzzFeed News. See also NYT.

More California parents exercise right to skip standardized tests KCRA Sacramento: According to the California Department of Education, fewer than 7,400 parents declined the STAR test (the previous test) in 2013. That's out of the 4.7 million students who took it. Officials said they did not have opt-out numbers for 2014, when the CAASPP was administered on a trial basis.

Common Core tests running smoothly at Alice Ott Middle School, aside from minor glitches OregonLive:  The first 15 to 20 minutes of testing were somewhat "shaky," Johnston said. A few students were booted off of the system and needed help getting signed in again. Other students had issues finding the volume button for headphones used for audio portions or needed individual computer preferences to be updated.  But aside from those minor glitches, Johnston said the test has gone smoothly.

New Colorado tests debut with both problems and progress Denver Post: Early reports show large numbers of test opt-outs in Boulder high schools. Nearly one in four high schoolers due to be tested in the Cherry Creek district refused PARCC, with Cherry Creek High accounting for nearly 70 percent of the refusals, the district said.

As Students Opt Out of Common Core Exams, Some Say Movement Is Not About Testing US News: Teach Plus, a nonprofit focused on placing effective teachers in urban schools, on Tuesday released a survey  of more than 1,000 teachers in Boston, Chicago, Memphis, Nashville and the District of Columbia who evaluated sample PARCC questions. More than three-quarters – 79 percent – of teachers said the test items were better than what their states used to have, but there were mixed results on whether they were grade-appropriate or too challenging. See also Hechinger Report: Can the new tests quell teacher anger over Common Core?

OTHER PLACES

Success Academy drops lottery preference for English learners ChalkbeatNY: The Success Academy charter school network announced on Monday that it is dropping a plan to guarantee seats in its schools for English language learners, saying it was unable to resolve its ongoing dispute with the federal education department over how to give those students an extra boost during the admissions process. The announcement represents a setback for the network, which had lobbied the department to allow such set-asides while its charter schools receive federal funds.

LAUSD board votes to send out pink slips LA Daily News: The Los Angeles Unified school board Tuesday approved sending pink slips to 609 educators, as talk of a teachers strike and budget deficit persist. Among those to receive notices that they could lose their jobs in about two months will be 63 social workers, 59 counselors and 104 educators from elementary schools.

Chiefs for Change education advocacy group is headed for more change Washington Post: Chiefs for Change, an advocacy group created by former Florida governor Jeb Bush to promote many of his K-12 education policies around the country, is breaking away from its origins and expanding to try to attract big city school leaders.

What To Do With Failing Schools WNYC: Chalkbeat New York reporter Patrick Wall talks about the city's School Renewal program, which seeks to turn around failing schools, rather than close them. See also ChalkbeatNY: Facing pressure to show results, de Blasio points to changes at some Renewal schools

Students May Benefit From Teachers Who Are the Same Race, Study Finds Teacher Beat: Black and low-performing students seemed to gain most from having a teacher of the same race, it concludes.

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