Questions About The Fund & Rauner's Involvement

Questions About The Fund & Rauner's Involvement

The latest news surrounding SUPES and Byrd-Bennett includes questions about the role of the Chicago Public Education Fund, and Gov. Rauner trying to distance himself from it. He was at an education writers event on Monday, and his wife is scheduled to appear on a panel today. Nationally, Common Core testing continues with some problems and parent opt-outs.  The NYT has a big piece about how teachers unions are working with parents and conservatives to oppose testing. Check it all out below and throughout the day at @district299.

SUPES TO CPEF

Federal Probe in Chicago Schools Includes Non-Profit Education Fund District Dossier: Federal officials are reportedly looking into a $20.5 million contract awarded to a company that once employed Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

The CPS No-Bid Investigation Spreads to CPEF, Once Chaired By Bruce Rauner  Chicagomag: TThe principal-training consultants who received the $20 million contract, the focus of a federal investigation, got seed funding from the Chicago Public Education Fund—whose board is a who's-who of Chicago power brokers.

RAUNER RESPONDS

Rauner tries to distance himself from CPS contract scandal Tribune: Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday sought to distance himself and a private education group he helps fund from the growing scandal over a $20.5 million no-bid contract at Chicago Public Schools that is under federal investigation.

Gov. Rauner says he has little faith in Chicago Public Schools WLS-TV: "This investigation is very sad, I hope there's been no wrong-doing, but Chicago Public Schools has been a source of patronage, cronyism, dealings, massive bureaucracy. It hasn't really serve the families and the parents of the children in a very long ...

Interim Chicago schools chief calls for independent audit San Antonio Express-News:  The move comes after CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced a leave of absence last week while federal authorities investigate a roughly $20 million no-bid contract with a suburban company that helps train principals, called SUPES Academy.

Rauner blasts CPS as layered in 'bureaucracy' once run as 'political patronage ... Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey called Rauner's criticism of teachers “rich” considering his history as a proponent for corporate involvement in education. “The reason there isn't more of a parent voice in the schools is there's too ...

MISC

Chicago Schools Haunted by Bankruptcy Chatter Ahead of Bond Sale Bloomberg: In the latest hurdle for the system, Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett took leave April 17 after the board was served with federal grand jury subpoenas seeking records about contracts, according to updated bond documents.

Charter Enrollment Lies Second City Teacher: In an independent investigation of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) data from the 2014-15 school year, parent education advocacy group Raise Your Hand has revealed that there are currently 12,637 empty seats in existing charter schools based on the CPS threshold for ideal enrollment. This equates to 64 schools or 50 percent of Chicago charter schools.

Kartemquin's Success Is Hard Earned Chicagoist: The local documentary film collective unveils a new six-part TV series, plus a sneak peek at four works in progress.

TESTING

Common Core Tests Continue After Server Problems, But With Leeway AP via HuffPost: Limited testing was successful Friday in Nevada for the troubled Common Core assessments, but now the state is offering school districts leeway that could present an unprecedented challenge to the federal testing mandate.

PARCC Opt-Outs Raise Question About Score Validity State EdWatch: There are two testing windows for PARCC, one of two assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. What implications does that have for students who might opt out?

Teachers’ Unions Fight Standardized Testing, and Find Diverse Allies NYT: Often painted as obstacles to improving schools, the unions now find common ground with parents who object to testing and conservatives who oppose the Common Core.

Inside the beltway pessimistic about reauthorization SI&A Cabinet Report: Despite signs of growing bipartisan support for legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 52 percent of Washington’s education stakeholder community says it won’t happen while President Barack Obama is in office.

MISC

Local education reporting nets Pulitzer Washington Post: Local education reporting is rarely glamorous, but a team of California journalists has shown that it can be powerful. They revealed that the superintendent of a small school district in Los Angeles County had received excessive compensation and an unusually plush set of perks at the same time tight budgets were forcing teacher layoffs and budget cuts.

Smart video games can assess kids better than standardized tests, a new book says  Washington Post: A new book is being released on Tuesday titled “The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.” If you doubt the title, read this post — and then the book.

OTHER CITIES

What Can #NOLASCHOOLS Teach Us? NPR: Michel Martin is hosting a conversation about education in New Orleans, ten years after Hurricane Katrina sparked a transformation of public schools there. Add your voice at #NOLASCHOOLS.

Los Angeles Teachers Union Reaches Tentative Labor Agreement Reuters via HuffPost: The three-year agreement includes a 10 percent pay rise spread over two years, investment in class size and counseling, as well as improvements to the evaluation system for teachers, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) said on its website.

Researcher Questions Whether Pre-K Supply Meets Demand in NYC WNYC: More than 60,000 families have already applied for prekindergarten slots this coming fall, in a sure sign of demand before Friday's first deadline. But one high-profile researcher claims there may be many more families who need the service than the city estimated.

Advanced Placement offerings vary widely in D.C. high schools Washington Post: The number of Advanced Placement classes at high schools in the District ranges from 29 courses at Wilson High School to three courses at Anacostia High School east of the river.Offerings at Wilson, the city’s largest high school, with about 1,800 students, include studio art, computer science and Chinese. School Without Walls offers the second-highest number of AP courses, at 21, including Latin and comparative government.

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