Friday Morning School News: Bad, Badder, Baddest

Chicago 5th in charter school students Southtown Star
enrolls about 28,973 students in public charter schools, about 7
percent of its overall student population, the National Alliance for
Public Charter Schools reported today.

Income-based gap hard to close for Illinois schools Tribune
While at least 95 percent of Hadley’s well-off students passed the
eighth-grade reading and math tests, about half of their low-income
classmates met the same goals, revealing an achievement gap that is as
persistent as it is pernicious.

EPA plans more air pollution tests at Lincoln Park School Tribune

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring air quality
at St. Josaphat School, 2245 N. Southport Ave., as part of a national
effort to gauge health risks from industrial pollution. It is among
thousands of schools located close to factories that emit toxic
chemicals and heavy metals.

More students passing, but the bar is low Sun Times
fourth-grade math, the Illinois threshold to pass was seventh-lowest.
The state’s reading passing point stacked up as a bit more rigorous —
12th lowest nationally in eighth grade and in the middle of the pack in

Chicago schools among best–and the worst Sun Times

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Chicago’s top postings were dominated by schools that pick kids based
on tests or lotteries, some neighborhood schools also shined. Oriole
Park School claimed the top spot among city neighborhood middle
schools, at No. 14 statewide, despite class sizes that are bulging this
year at 38.

Kipling Elementary leapfrogs more affluent schools Sun Times
This neighborhood school tucked among squat and
simple one-story homes outranked some far more affluent public schools
in Oakbrook Terrace, Lombard and Plainfield.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • The two Sun Times articles on State test scores fail to note even in passing the absolutely awful reading scores for CPS students with disabilities. This year only 6.5% of CPS juniors with IEPs were able to read at State standards, last year 6.7% of juniors with IEPs were at State standards.

    Now when we add to this Ms. Rossi's information that Illinois has the 12th lowest standards in the nation for its reading assessment we have to come to the conclusion that CPS special education is a complete failure. The responsiblity for this failure falls on the current US Sec. of Education Mr. Duncan. CPS OSS needs fundamentally to be completely restructured with a driven focus on teaching students with disabilities to read. But I have been saying this for years and no one at CPS including Board members, CEOs, seem to pay attention.

    By the way the public CPS graduation rate for students with IEPs was fundamentally wrong last year. Access Living wrote ISBE with an objection to that rate which was in 2008 listed as 72.3% when in 2007 it had been only 42.7%. Now in 2009 ISBE claims the CPS graduation rate for students with IEPs to be 58%. That seems possible, but given the reading skills of these graduates it really does not matter much that they were issued a diploma by CPS, they are headed to the unemployment lines and the Illinois Department of Human Services to get public assistance.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    OSS does not support its special education teachers and is adept at disseminiating erroneous information at case managers' meetings or monthly autism meetings in a non-written format in order to deny/decrease services to our students. Now we are on the "shared aide-no one to one bandwagon"

    How will an aide for two children with severe autism get from another builing where she is with one child who is mainstreamed in the event of a fire? We have locking fire doors which will prevent the aide from returning to the main building(which she should not return and endanger the child she is with)and the special education teacher in the main building can not get all of her special education students out by herself. Special education teachers should not be in the washroom trying to assist a child while the rest of the class is standing in the hallway.

    The other bandwagon is "all self-contained children irregardless of the disability MUST be mainstreamed." This is NOT what the law says and where is the law department when it comes to all of these unwritten mandates?

  • In reply to anniesullivan:

    What can be done by parents and advocates to change this?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Parents need to advocate for their children-sometimes it is as easy as asking a question at an IEP meeting-there is a space for parent/guardian imput and parents need to use it to their advantage-state your concerns and it is forever a part of your child's written record-parents can demand and get more services for their children than we, as teachers.

    No one and I repeat no one at central office cares what we think about the rampant abuses in specialized services.

    I am at a great school with a caring case manager and a principal who supports his special education tachers and we are unable to follow the IEPS because CPS will not assign the aides or teachers.

    So, if this type of abuse is going on at a school with high scores one can only wonder about the state of special education at schools with low scores.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    The bigger crime is UNO getting 120 million dollars the last two years from Illinois State Tax Dollars. A lot of your tax money folks for kill and drill curriculum.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Out with Marilyn and her goons at CTU!!! Teachers are tire of her "sleeping" with Daley and the business community! Congratulations to teachers and CORE!

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    yes, chicago mom-I was there--were you? You are wrong--go to too and see the comments and analysis there. Scott was lying and double talking and Jay had every right to get him to tell the truth--which he would NOT do. Scott was not interested in listening--only arguing and taking so much time that others could not present--this is a purposful strategy btw. Do not rely on the cable version of the Board meeting--they edit the he-- out of it.
    Chicagomom--happy teachers make happy students. Are you working in a school everyday with 31 students, 5 times per day and some with severe behavior disorders? Teachers are tired of working hard and smart, getting extra classes only to be told they are too old and/or too expensive; having little TFA, who really do not want to work or work temporarily, take your place.
    11:49--Scott does care since the mayor wants not to make the pension payments that he got a pass on way back in 1995. It does matter and as for CTU and Pac--this is a win for ALL teachers and should not be diminished. It is a chink in Stewats armor and a waring to the Board. We shall overcome and we are! Thank you Jay and Lois and thak you CORE.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Terrible scores at Little Village HS. 4 principals, 4 APs and a full-time campus manager 1000- students and they produce nothing but extremely low results!--Most CPS HS have more than 1000 students, only 1 principal, 1 AP and NO campus manager and are doing so much better. What a waste of $$ and my house taxes went up. We are paying for this cra--! WHY?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Doesn't CORE guru Jackson Potter teach at one of these LVHS?

    Maybe it would be best for his students if teachers "promoted" him to a union job and got him out of the classroom.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Perhaps you should ask them. Jackson lives for his students. I've had the fortune of meeting many of his grads and students from both Englewood and Social Justice. It's easy to attack people anonymously on a blog, but if it hurts students, that's on you.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Spineless anonymous worms that allow administrators and the school district to destroy and abuse students are just as guilty as those that create and promote the despotic policies of those who profit from the misery of children.

    comment with your real name and maybe then we could have an open discussion rather than mudslinging trash talk.

    Teachers are leaders that should teach by example. jackson fights for his students and that is how he teaches them: to be honest strong citizens that uphold the rights we have.

    John Kugler

  • Mayor Daley: "Fenger is a Very Good School"
    Updated: Friday, 30 Oct 2009, 12:20 AM CDT
    Published : Friday, 30 Oct 2009, 12:02 AM CDT
    By Darlene Hill, FOX Chicago News

    Chicago - "Fenger has a very good principal and it's a very good school" Mayor Richard Daley said Thursday at Orr Academy where he was principal for the day.

    He walked around with teachers and students at the North Side school, giving the faculty a job well done---for improving test scores and preventing some of the violence that once plagued the school.

    Daley and schools

  • Retired Principal sais: Daley goes to Orr High School every year! That's why the small school experiment was whacked first at Orr High School! Next, South Shore High School and then Bowen High School! P.S.- Teachers and ESP's, get your resumes ready!

  • at HP by Matt Farmer, Posted: October 30, 2009 06:13 PM
    "Through the Looking Glass With Mayor Daley"

    Dear Mayor Daley,

    I trust you saw the morning papers today. The Chicago Sun-Times just published its 2009 rankings of 656 public high schools across Illinois. You've had absolute control over Chicago's public schools since 1995, so you undoubtedly know that the Sun-Times ranks high schools each year based upon average scores on certain state achievement tests. I'm also willing to bet my Arne Duncan-autographed basketball that you weren't surprised to see Fenger High School sitting, once again, near the bottom of the newspaper's list. To be fair, the school did move up a notch in this year's rankings, checking in at number 654 out of 656 schools.

    I'm not an educator, sir, so I'm hoping you can explain something to me.

    How did you manage to keep a straight face yesterday, when you told members of the Chicago media that Fenger High School is "a very good school"?

    Read more at:

  • breaking news - Jay Rehak and Lois Ashford are the new CTPF Pension Trustees!

  • Teacher Trustee Election 2009 Results

    Chicago Teachers

  • This is WONDERFUL news. Thank you Jay and Lois for running.
    Now, all we need is for Terry Katsulis to win for the retirees and there's no stopping us. Thank god teachers are seeing the light here. (That unexercised vote thing is not cool and could cause some problems when CTU voting come around--wake up people who do not vote--please wake up.) Thanks Kuglar too and Alexander, now I can got to sleep!

  • CORE candidates sweep the CTPF election? A big victory for CORE and candidates Rehak and Ashford. Perhaps it's CORE's action ... not just talk ... that pushed those votes?

  • We must give thanks to ron huberman 4 this victory. Ron has tried to usurp the chicago policemens' pension and is now trying to destroy the teachers' pension. Thank you for uniting us Ron!
    We hope you will do the same for the CTU election next year.

  • bet michael scott wished he had spoken in a more professional tone and manner to Jay Rehak at Wed. board meeting. Scott is lucky--Jay is great at forgive and forget.
    Congratulations teachers for your new pension fund trustees!

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Why would Michael Scott care? He's not on the pension board--that's Alberto Carrerro and Peggy Davis.

    Further, UPC still controls half the votes on the panel. Maria Rodriguez will remain President of the Trustees.

    Granted, it's a start in the right direction. But the new trustees are still in the minority. (And Ashford isn't all that bright, either.)

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Huh? Were you watching the same interaction between Rehak and Scott at the Board meeting that I was. Rehak was insufferably rude--I was disappointed because I think he's a really good teacher.

  • In reply to chicagomom:

    Chicago Mom,

    I am sorry you felt I was "insufferably rude." That was not my intent. I think I was blunt: the Board of Ed, through SB 2011 is looking to pay only 205 million of the 307 million it owes to the teacher pension fund. That is a fact that Mr. Scott does not and did not dispute. At minute 1:45, the timekeeper cut in and asked me to conclude. At that point, President Scott said I had to be quiet because the timekeeper said my time was up. I noted to Mr. Scott that she actually said I should conclude. The timekeeper agreed with me, and so I concluded. I remain resolute in my conviction that the Board of Education has a responsibility to fund the teachers pension as per the law. I meant no disrespect to President Scott or CEO Huberman, but I also meant to make it clear to them that their pension obligation takes precedent over discretionary spending. (Just like a bill takes precedent over discretionary spending on a personal basis.)

    Again, I'm sorry you interpreted my actions as "insufferably rude" but I do appreciate your kind words about my teaching.

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