AM News: Welcome To The "New" D299

Here’s some recent news — mostly just to see if this new blog works:

Maggie Daley’s After School Matters programs turns 20:  What started as a summer arts program now gives 20,000 Chicago public high school students a chance to find their passion.

Rahm Emanuel: 625 city worker layoffs if union won’t accept reforms: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday said he has identified 625 city employees who will be laid off if labor leaders do not agree to $20 million in workplace reforms.

Federal officials release college cost comparisons: Looking for a college bargain? Try any of nine University of Puerto Rico campuses, where annual tuition hovers at or below $2,000.

Insiders got early notice of college savings deal: Treasurer Dan Rutherford tells the Chicago Tribune that early word was sent out solely as a promotion because officials weren’t sure the new offer would be popular. Rutherford says it was a mistake that won’t happen again.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • Like that the new site is optimized for iPhone, dislike that anonymous comments have been disabled because I fear this will kill off the blog as most here comment ... Quietly.

  • In reply to sean:

    Another anonymous user just trying out the district299reader login... Last time ChicagoNow restructured we had many of the same concerns and eventually they got worked out. I hope same will be true this time. But it sure seems as though the "content" space for the blog is yielding to space for ChicagoNow's own internal "advertising"...

  • In reply to sean:

    Same feelings--people will stop commenting. (The brakes have been on for me.) Clunky, a little confusing-liked very much seeing the ‘highlighted’ comments on the right side-where there was a bit of the comment in it. I do not care what time comment was posted since it was always last comment on top. Also, I replied to a person's comment at the bottom of the string and my comment was placed on top of ALL the other comments in the string. So my comment reads a little silly and out of place. I understand that it has to be about ads—we all knew this would happen. I pray this all gets worked out--it is much much harder than the last change. I fear AR, you are already losing your dedicated readers and commentators. Exactly what CPS is hoping for. The Trib MUST realize that there is truth and insight on this blog that CPS could try to hide or not face. And since CPS reads it, the Trib is supporting positive change and accountability. I will miss getting the information I need as an administrator from here, since CPS is such a poor communicator to their employees.

  • if you want to make a comment anonymously while they work out the kinks on this i think you can still use the old way -- district299reader at gmail dot com and district299reader as the password.

  • lots of things not to like, according to bears blog readers,

    frankly every changeover i've been through has been sort of sucky, but this one feels a little worse than expected.

    at least folks can find the blog now by clicking

    am hoping to like this better a couple of days from now

  • so this is me (alexander) logged in as / district299reader. that's the email / password combination that you can use to comment anonymously.

    seems to work -- not sure what will happen if multiple folks try to use it at the same time.

    or, you can set up your own "dummy" email address to use here via hotmail, or gmail, or yahoo.

    sign up for hotmail account (free):

    sign up for gmail account (free):

    all you need to access this site is a valid email -- but it doesn't have to be your work email, or your personal one.

    send me questions or concerns at

  • here's CN's explanation of the changes, and the rationale behind them --

    basically, they were trying to make the site more friendly to mobile users and less cluttered-looking

    i don't like the new look very much but then again, the truth is, the only thing that matters is the content -- the stuff i post, the comments you make.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    How many teachers have been laid off/fired/let go/terminated this week?
    How many are tenured?
    Check to make sure ISBE has you compliant with certification requirements. CPS is looking for easy ways to get rid of higher paid teachers and certification compliance is a no brainer. Teachers who are being told they are terminated need to check with Winckler's office to see if they are really the lowest in seniority.
    Also, make sure your position number matches what you are certified in.....this is a ploy that principals use to allow teachers to gain tenure when they should not...for example a teacher is certified in Early Childhood but the principal places her in SPED...she is not supposed to acquire tenure because she is not teaching under her certificate...teachers need to report this as if could affect their positions...

  • here's an important trick -- they've changed the blog address




    the old address should forward you to the new home, but you could update your bookmark or favorites page

  • fb_avatar

    the main difference between signing in using my gmail address and using facebook seems to be that in one version (gmail) my username is alexanderrusso while in the other one (Facebook) it's Alexander Russo

    of course, there are other linkages and connections, too.

  • Signed in using the since I don't want to use my personal info. Just had to comment that I HATE this new design. Especially hate the loss of the "recent comments" section. Don't know if I'll be on this blog as much as I was before...

  • In reply to notronhuberman:

    I loved the old site and always read the blog comments at the far right and then would read the blog article which caught my eye. This site is too commercial and too complicated. It will stifle our comments and participation and will open the door to a competitive site which readers will most likely create out of frustration and disappointment with this new blog. It is less blog now and more side-bar advertising and is just not a venue for people to air their anger, frustrations, and disgust with the machinations of 299. The old site pulled all of us together(whether actively working or retired)due to the commonality of our experiences working in CPS. I bet your readership here will drop dramatically.

  • time to make sure your certificate is registered, says CTU:

    It is vital that you keep your records with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) up-to-date and register your teaching certificates. If you have moved from an initial certificate to a standard certificate, you must go online and register it. Your certificate doesn’t register automatically.

    If your Statement of Assurance has been approved, and you have paid the appropriate fee, go into ECS on the ISBE site and register. The window to do so opened today.

    Click here to register your certificate with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

    In solidarity,

    Michael Brunson
    Recording Secretary
    Chicago Teachers Union

  • Better mobile compatibility? I don't really think so. The two things that bother me the most are these:

    1) More than half of the blog is now advertising. Yuck. And the print for the advertising and non-Russo content is often bigger and bolder than Russo content. Whatever. Major media is all about advertising. I get it. I just don't like it.

    2) What makes this blog so valuable to me as a reader, user, and teacher is its interactivity. That interactivity is, as in the last redesign, severely curtailed. I used the old recent comment sidebar all the time. Viewing little blurbs from recent comments are what keep me coming back for more and what usually sucks me into a new blog post or discussion. Instead of eliminating that feature it should be expanded. I'd like to see blurbs from the last 20 recent comments, not the last 5.

    Keeping the anonymous login is important. I'm glad to see it's still here. I'd like a prompt for anonymous commenting when I click 'Comment'. I don't want to have to remember the login/password, though my browser will do that for me, I suppose.

    I've been away from this blog for a long time. I only starting reading again recently. Not sure I'll stick around this time without the emphasis on discussion.

  • Agreed. I hope those updates can be made. Otherwise, the new format is "dead" feeling. It's like a store with most the shelves empty (of the content I want). Too bad.

  • some updates and responses to the comments and criticisms so far --

    first off, i'm with you in being unhappy with the site and am working hard with CN and other bloggers to get some changes made.

    recent comments is a top priority, of course, and seems like something that should be do-able.

    i'm also working hard to get the comment posting order changed back to the old way, so you don't have to scroll to the bottom.

    the strange new look is apparently intended to make the site more readable on a mobile device -- an understandable urge but not at the cost of regular old computer users. i'm not sure what can be done but know that the common practice in other places is to have a regular version and a "mobile" version of a site.

    what else? i'm fighting to get anonymous comments back, of course, refighting the fight i've had before -- it will take some time, but i'm somewhat hopeful. in the meantime, use district229reader@gmail / district299reader to comment -- or create your own made up email and use it. do not use your work email if you're concerned about CPS monitoring emails, and don't use your real name.

  • Alexander, I thought the last website was bad! This one is even worst!

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