UNO Chided, Charters To Be Closed

chicago-streetviewToday’s news includes a strong Tribune editorial about UNO (based on Sun Times reporting!), as well as news about two proposed charter school closings.  There’s also a story about why some teachers are dissatisfied this year after the successful CTU strike, some low poll ratings for Emanuel, and a RYH benefit event.


New schools meet old school cronyism Tribune (editorial):  UNO’s business practices need to live up to the highest standards. If UNO can’t perform, Chicago should look elsewhere for charter operators who can.

Chicago Public Schools proposes closing 2 charter high schools Tribune: Chicago Public Schools officials will recommend that two charter high schools be closed this year because of poor performance, officials said Thursday.

School leaders recommend closing two charters WBEZ: CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett is recommending that all 12 charter school operators up for renewal, including Aspira and Shabazz, be granted new contracts. In total, the 12 operators run 30 schools. If approved by the board next week, most of those contracts will run for five years. Two schools, ACE Tech and Community Services West Academy, are being recommended for three-year contracts.

Two CPS Charter Schools Recommended for Closure Due to Poor Performance DNAinfo: Two Chicago Public Schools charter schools were recommended for closure Thursday due to poor performance.


To Karen Lewis’ Challengers, CORE Members Say: You’re Fighting the Wrong Fight In These Times: Several teachers have told Working In These Times that while they left the strike with a renewed sense of unity and purpose, coming back to school has been a harsh reality. The longer school day pushed by Rahm Emanuel is now in place. And while CTU won contract concessions from the city, such as ensuring books for all students on the first day of school and lowering the weight of student evaluations in determining teacher salaries, many of the gains were Band-aids on the deeper problems of long-neglected schools.

Teacher Survey Shows Record Low Job Satisfaction in 2012 Huffington Post via CPS Chatter: Teachers’ job satisfaction has declined 23 percentage points in the five years since 2008, according to the long-running survey of educators and principals. Only 39 percent of teachers reported they were very satisfied, the least since 1987, the survey showed. The percentage of teachers who said they were very satisfied dropped five percentage points in 2012.


Amid Scandal and a Violence Epidemic, Rahm Emanuel’s Rating Drops DailyKos via CPS Chatter: Specifically, just 2 percent of Chicagoans surveyed said they strongly approve of the mayor’s job performance, with 12 percent somewhat approving and 5 percent leaning that way. At the opposite end, 13 percent strongly disapprove, 9 percent somewhat disapprove and 13 percent lean toward disapproval.

Police arrest suspect in fatal shooting of Clemente High senior Frances Colon Sun Times: A suspect was arrested late Thursday in the murder of 18-year-old Frances Colon, the third Roberto Clemente High School student shot to death this school year, a Chicago Police source said. The man, who is in his 40s, was arrested in the 11th District on Thursday night, the source said. The Feb. 15 shooting stemmed from a drug bust gone wrong, and Colon was an innocent bystander, police said.

Schoolyard Attack Sparks Safety Concerns Regarding CPS School Closures ;DNAI: But school officials say fight on playground at National Teachers Academy did not involve student.


Bronzeville parents says school closings violate kids’ civil rights Sun Times:  Members of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and of local school councils said that last year’s displacement of Price Elementary School students has resulted in numerous problems, including attacks on former Price kids around their new school.

CPS kids transferred to another school, parents and activists not happy Medill Reports: A spokesperson for the district called the transition to MTA “a safe and seamless process” and said “parents have expressed their satisfaction with the outstanding supports that have been implemented at the school.” But not all parents agree. Along with civil rights activists, some are calling on U.S Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to meet them about the city’s school closing policy.

CPS School Actions Transform Student, Teacher Populations, Report Finds Progress IL: The report, titled “Turning Around Low-Performing Schools in Chicago” found that four years after undergoing dramatic reform efforts such as turnarounds or closure, the gap in test scores between reformed elementary and middle schools and the system average decreased by almost half in reading and by almost two-thirds in mathematics. Test scores were not significantly better in the first year of reform, but grew over time.


Voice of the People, Feb. 22 Tribune: Teaching to the test In my 35 years as an educator and administrator in Chicago-area schools, “teaching to the test” was synonymous with bad education. Students could not be exposed to critical-thinking skills, including observing, making reasoned…

State’s Hispanic students score well, but African-Americans lagging Sun Times: Hispanic eighth-graders in Illinois have higher reading scores than the rest of the nation’s big states, but the state’s African-American children still struggle mightily with reading, math and science. In fact, black fourth-graders in Illinois scored worst of the states in reading, and black students in fourth and eighth grade scored well below the national average and the lowest of the “mega states”.


CPS pension fund takes unexpected dip Crain’s Chicago Business (blog): The fiscal cliff facing Chicago Public Schools got significantly larger today, with the release of a report disclosing that the cash-strapped system will now have to come up with an extra $400 million next year to pay teacher pensions unless something …

RYH Benefit Thursday 2/28 – please come by! CPS Obsessed: Just a quick note that the Raise Your Hand benefit party is next Thursday.  Come support the group who putting in so much time and energy to keeping CPS on their toes.  I’ll be there with a CPSO name tag on, so come say hi.  They’ve pushed for a longer day, pushed for a not-too-long day, questioned the utilization model, and make sure CPS keeps their facts straight.  Come give a little back to help them cover expenses for the year.


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  • The Tribune editorial in relation to UNO totally avoids the issue of UNO contractors providing campaign contributions to a candidate running for the IL General Assembly supported by UNO. While there is no direct evidence published at this time that these contracts were awarded under the assumption that such contributions would be made this is really the biggest part of the story. The Tribune avoids this aspect totally and its potentially the only aspect of this story that could lead to deeper trouble for UNO and Mr. Rangel.

    Rod Estvan

  • Trib: blind spots.

  • CPS Breaks the Law Again: No Emergency Security Plans or Training since the Sandy Hook Massacre

  • Byrd-Bennett's annual salary is $250,000. What was not made public, until now, was that David Vitale, President of the Chicago Board of Education, quietly permitted Byrd Bennett to continue her work for Eli Broad. To the knowledge of Substance reporters and editor, Byrd Bennett is the first chief in CPS history to be granted such a waiver by the President of the Board of Education, and the public record shows no indication that Vitale or the Board made this bit of important information "transparent."

  • This is no surprise. The whole transparency kick is a joke. I have watched the surgically placed, inept brodies get passed on to her and re-positioned into prominent positions even though they haven't performed well. She, along with the CPS hierarchy is loyal to old-man Broad to a fault. Now we really know why. A couple of her recent placements will blow up soon and expose their incompetence. Question: How in the world can you work in a failing probationary school, and a failing network and get promoted??? Answer: Is it politics???

  • Our area officer is throwing so much at us without help that it interfering with our instruction. He make us all do math units earlier than any other area, with no help and then told us after we handed them in what we were supposed to do. He threw essential questions, understanding by design, and tells us to follow the continuum. The workshops presented by his people are repetitive and confusing information is given. Teachers whisper that he is using us to make a name for himself with the new CEO so he can keep his job. Our principal told us that he stated that he is the reason all the network schools are staying open when we and the other schools around us have been overcrowded for years. When school scores fall due to his mandatory edicts, will he be blamed for this?
    No, but we the teachers will be.

  • What a terrible person....he makes you create "essential questions" and learn about Understanding by Design...things exceptional teachers have been doing for years. He never stated he is the reason the schools are staying open, your principal is misrepresenting the facts because she has an axe to grind. He shared how he worked to help keep the schools open to illustrate how dedicated he is to all schools. The only type of person worse than someone that spreads hearsay is the person that repeats it. Bravo.

  • You must owe your job to him. The midway network is the most overcroweded network-period. Like that was new information... please. Edwards is splling out kids so they will go to the one a midway school that needs kids. He is no savior. What makes you think the principal is a she? Sounds like you are misrepresenting the "facts."

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