Chicago Not A Really "Super" School District


I’m not sure why this matters, since I don’t think Illinois is going to be among the first few states to get Race To The Top money from Washington, but perhaps it’s still worth noting that Chicago doesn’t appear on the list of 12 “super LEAs” in Illinois’ Race To The Top application — districts that have pledged to move further, faster, on teacher evaluation and school turnarounds, in exchange for additional funding.  (LEA = local education agency.)

CPS is, however, discussed in the text as being something akin to a super LEA.  From page 11of the state application:  “It is important to note that the Chicago Public Schools currently possesses and exercises the
authority to provide site-based autonomy in certain underperforming schools and to engage in
intensive turnaround efforts.As a result, through the work of the Super LEAs and their union
State of Illinois Race to the Top Application (A)(1) 12
leadership, alongside the Chicago Public Schools continued work, Illinois’ bold RTTT reforms
will be instituted in more than 60 Priority Schools in the State. Through its Super LEA strategy,
the State intends to serve as a national model for how bold reforms can be achieved in
partnership with teachers’ unions.”

So is CPS a super LEA or not?  Not.  Neither CPS nor CTU have signed off on waiving portions of the contract to ease the way for a new evaluation system, which is how EdWeek describes super LEA status (here).  The Tribune says that CTU didn’t even sign onto the RTTT application (here).  And I’m told that CPS hasn’t signed on to participate in the Partnership Zone (or provide the flexibilities necessary to implement that model to turn around their “Priority Schools”).

Click below for the list of 12 super LEAs.  I’m looking for more information from the state and board, and wondering whether the priority schools are the same as the ones in danger of being closed by CPS. 
From page 11 of the state RTT application:

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  • What is Chicago's participation to get this grant money? Anybody? Has CPS released any statement?

  • I told you yesterday that the Chicago Teachers Union did *not* send a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on behalf of the state application.

    CTU President Marilyn Stewart reported to the House of Delegates (January 13th meeting) that the expected amount Chicago would reap was *less* than one million dollars. With the Board claiming a $900+ million deficit for next year, she claimed, it simply wasn't worth giving up our rights for such a small amount.


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