All Eyes On CPS

All Eyes On CPS

Wow, what a strange few days for Chicago and CPS.  Byrd-Bennett is on leave.  The Chicago Public Education Fund is under examination along with SUPES. Rumors are flying. I was at the Friday event celebrating the new Speer campus of Noble Street and there were no press, no CPS, and no City Hall folks there.  The Chicago reporters planning on attending EWA15, the national conference of education writers going on here this week, don't know whether to come to panels and report the next story. Lots of stories below, and more throughout the day at @district299.

Feds eye CPS records on education group backed by state's, city's elites Chicago Tribune: Launched in 2000, the group was first led by then-Chicago Tribune Publisher Scott Smith. Rauner joined the board the next year and later was its chairman before becoming an emeritus member of the board, along with future U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, a former member of the Chicago school board; and current school board President David Vitale.

Murky past of company boss in CPS probe Chicago Sun-Times: Now, Solomon, who wasn't charged with any crime, again finds himself under a harsh spotlight, his business empire at the center of a federal probe.

State board of education member resigns over superintendent hire Tribune: James Baumann, a key member of the Illinois State Board of Education, formally resigned this week, citing concerns about the unusual way the new state school superintendent was chosen.

Chicago schools chief requests temporary leave amid probe WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett requested a leave of absence Friday amid a federal investigation over a $20.5 million no-bid contract the district awarded to a training academy where she once worked as a consultant, according to her attorney.

Chicago Schools Chief Takes Leave AP: Barbara Byrd-Bennett, chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools, will take a paid leave of absence amid a federal investigation into a $20.5 million no-bid contract the district awarded.

Rauner's dangerous talk of Chicago schools bankruptcy Crain's Chicago Business: Bankruptcy, as one lawyer familiar with the legal process puts it, works best as kabuki theater. The actors get all gussied up in outlandish outfits—some as samurai warriors with scary swords and scarier faces.

The Watchdogs: CPS' $228 million time bomb Chicago Sun-Times: “No one has demanded termination payments,” Chicago Public Schools spokesman Bill McCaffrey said Friday. But school officials so far haven't been able to renegotiate the terms of the swaps and free themselves of that threat.

Common Core: Test refusal pushed by middle class families LoHud: Districts with a high test participation rate fell into one of two categories — they are either home to a large number of adults with advanced degrees and high household income, or where more than half the students are categorized by the state as "economically disadvantaged."

Anti-Test 'Opt Out' Movement Makes A Wave In New York State NPR: Activists say that about 175,000 students refused to take federally mandated tests last week.

LAUSD, teachers reach tentative agreement KPCC LA: The agreement covering over 31,000 members calls for a 10 percent raise over two years and an re-opener in 2016-2017. The pay raises would be phased in: 4 percent retroactive to July 1 and 2 percent retroactive to Jan. 1 and then 2 percent increases on July 1 of this year and again on Jan. 1, 2016.

The things kids don't tell their teachers CBS News: Denver third-grade teacher Kyle Schwartz is used to telling her students about the world. But she wanted to know more about the world they live in, where 93 percent of the students qualify for meal assistance. A great idea caught on. Teachers in at least 17 states have used the assignment.

Educators Go Silent on State Tests, More Than Last Year WNYC: As the first week of state tests for elementary and middle school students came to an end, many teachers and principals once again said they were divided about the tests' quality and value. But, unlike last year, their comments mostly were muted and off the record.

Traditional schools increasingly adopting longer school day, year EdSource Today: About 1,200 traditional schools compared with almost 800 charter schools offered either a longer school day or year in 2013-14, according to a new report from a nonprofit advocacy group.

New York Teen Gets Accepted To All Ivy League Schools NPR: High school senior Harold Ekeh plans to go to college. He applied to 13 schools — including 8 Ivy League schools. He got into all of them. His family moved to the U.S. from Nigeria when he was eight.

Panel: Government should invest in video games to help students learn KTAR: "We've been trying to find a way to put those two together for centuries," said Greg Toppo, a national education writer for USA Today. "I think one of the most exciting things is that this movement has that at its forefront," he said.

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