So the Board is getting tough on low performing charters, and charters are whining about being surprised by changing policies and surprise announcements. Welcome to the club, charters! In other news: special ed finally gets some attention (from Catalyst), the First Lady is in town to talk about obesity and nutrition, someone named Paulette Poncelet has moved from Pittsburgh public schools to CPS.
Poor performance leads CPS to put six charter schools on ‘warning’ list Sun Times: Chicago’s Board of Education has approved the renewal of 30 charter schools Wednesday, including the politically connected UNO network recently under fire for funneling contracts paid for by millions in state grants to relatives of UNO allies and a top executive. The district also put six charter schools on a “warning” list because of poor performance, Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced Wednesday.
CPS cracks down on underperforming charters Tribune: The Chicago Public Schools board indicated it plans to place more scrutiny on the academic and financial performance of charter schools, approving plans Wednesday to gradually close two charters and warning six others that they’ll have to shape up or face the same fate.
Charter schools surprised by new CPS academic ‘warning’ list WBEZ: Charter school leaders blasted the district for failing to communicate the change until hours before Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting. The INCS statement called out CPS for constantly changing its policies and practices, saying, “it is impossible for charter schools to meet a moving target of accountability, or effectively participate in a constantly shifting process. Four CPS administrations in five years have continuously moved the goal posts.”
Charters to undergo yearly reviews, “warning” list Catalyst: Every fall, the district will name poor performers to a “warning list.” In contracts with charters going forward, it will stipulate that being on the warning list would result in closure the following Spring. Currently, charters only face closure at the end of their contract. Contracts are typically five years, though recently some shaky performers have been given three-year contracts.
School Closure Protests WTTW: More than 100 schools remain on the list for possible closures — and in community meetings around Chicago, parents are strongly objecting to the possibility of closing their neighborhood school. Elizabeth Brackett reports.
Rahm on the Ropes The Nation (via CPS Chatter): What Emanuel had planned as his marquee accomplishment—corporate-style “school reform”—has been cracking like a pane of glass.
Class sizes could increase for special education students Catalyst: Special education advocates are up in arms about a state proposal to eliminate class size caps for special education rooms and let districts decide what percentage of a “general education” class can be students with disabilities.The rule changes would leave the state without maximum class sizes based on a child’s disability for the first time since 1975. CPS district spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler says that “we recently learned of this proposal and are currently reviewing it so that we understand its potential implications.”
Concordia students sue school over accreditation flap Sun Times: When Chicago Public Schools teacher Carlotta Jefferson decided to seek a master’s degree in school counseling, she chose Concordia University in River Forest, where the program boasted approval by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs. But that was in 2010. Today, Jefferson is the lead plaintiff among more than a dozen students suing the faith-based institution for refunds of their $20,000 tuition and other damages, saying Concordia gave up the nationally esteemed CACREP accreditation just as they were about to graduate, and allegedly concealed that fact.
UNO Charter Teachers and Students Deserve Better Catalyst via CPS Chatter: At UNO, I’ve heard of teachers working average of 10 hours a day with minimal preparatory periods and only three 25 minute duty-free lunches a week at pay that is 20% less than the average teacher in Chicago. They have few protections on the job and teachers have reported being fired for breathing a hint of criticism at UNO’s CEO Juan Rangel.
Study: 1 in 4 CPS kids obese, First Lady in town to address problem Sun Times: One in four Chicago Public Schools students is obese and Chicago children are still more likely to be obese than children nationwide, a local study shows. But the data also shows that the percentage of kindergartners who are obese has steadily declined since 2003 and the percentage of obese ninth-graders is less than that of sixth-graders.
Pittsburgh Public Schools board approves staffing changes Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Last month, it approved the departure of Paulette Poncelet, chief of research, assessment and accountability, who went to Chicago Public Schools.
MacArthur Foundation awards $750,000 to 2 Chicago groups Sun Times: Two Chicago nonprofits were recognized for excellence Wednesday and awarded $750,000 by the MacArthur Foundation. The Northwestern University School of Law Children and Family Justice Center, which protects the rights and well-being of young people in the juvenile justice system, and the Southwest Organizing Project, which helps overcome foreclosures and quell community violence, were both recognized with the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
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