School Closing Costs Double

School Closing Costs Double

Today’s news: Closing out closed schools will cost nearly double the previous estimates (but it’s just $10 million), former CPS head Jean Claude Brizard calls for a “teacher spring,” suburban schools leads the way in post-Newtown school responses (anniversary tomorrow), magnet deadline is today, plus a nasty lawsuit against Hales Franciscan.


What happened to all the ‘stuff’ in Chicago’s closed schools? WBEZ: The quick response to Jenn’s question comes from Tom Tyrell, the former Marine Corps colonel hired by Chicago Public Schools to oversee everything having to do with the school closings:“We are repurposing it, to save money to put money back in the classrooms — everything that’s usable.”

Cost to empty out closed schools doubles WBEZ: Removing everything from Chicago’s closed schools will cost $10 million more than the district originally signed on for. “The volume of stuff that we ended up moving was three times higher than we estimated it was going to be. It was stunning how much more was in the schools than we anticipated.”


It’s Time for an ‘Education Spring’ in American Public Schools – Charting My Own Course JCB: I think it’s time for an “Education Spring,” where teachers across the country rise up and take on leadership over their field.

Teacher sues, alleges she was fired for reporting sexual incident CLTV: A former teacher who worked at Hales Franciscan High School is now suing the school saying she was let go because she contacted state investigators about a possible criminal sexual incident at the school in October.

Suit: Teacher at Hales Franciscan fired for reporting abuse allegations Sun Times: A former teacher at a prestigious Catholic high school on the South Side is suing the institution, claiming she was fired because she blew the whistle on an alleged sexual assault involving students.


School in Chicago Suburb Leads the Way in Keeping Kids Safe NBC News: Jeff Rossen reports on an elementary school in Niles, Ill. that is using technology in a number of innovative ways to safeguard itself.

The School Shootings You Didn’t Hear About—One Every Two Weeks Since Newtown Daily Beast: In the year since Newtown, at least 24 school shootings have claimed at least 17 lives, according to a Daily Beast investigation. Has anything really changed?

Newtown images tell a story of grieving AP: A line of frightened young children hang onto one another’s shoulders as they’re shepherded from their school building. A young woman wails and clutches her chest as she holds a phone to her ear, fearing the worst about her sister. A dusting of snow coats a pile of teddy bears placed on the ground….

LAPD teaches educators that ‘Seconds Count’ in school shooting scenario LA Daily News: During the daylong “Seconds Count” drill at New Community Jewish High in West Hills, about 50 private-school principals and leaders from Los Angeles’ Jewish community learned methods for anticipating and preventing a crisis and training their staffs to respond should one occur.

Hidden Cameras Test School Security NBC News: On the first anniversary of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, NBC’s Jeff Rossen investigates just how secure some schools are.


CPS magnet, selective-enrollment schools deadline ABC: The deadline for students to apply to magnet or selective-enrollment schools for the 2014-2015 year in Chicago is this week [today!].

Montessori School Aiming for Early 2014 Opening in Lincoln Square DNAI: The New Day Academy has inked a lease on the property at the NE corner of Montrose and Lincoln avenues.


Chancellor candidate Farina praises Ravitch, but keeps distance Chalkbeat NY: Farina subtly changed the tone—and put some distance between herself and Ravitch’s anti-charter rhetoric. “I think we have to stop worrying about what the other people are doing, and really concentrate on what we have to do better,” she began. “Because part of it is that we let ourselves kind of fall into complacency when we were the only game in town. And by we I’m talking about public education.”

Common Core critics and backers compete at Manhattan forum Chalkbeat NY:  Like in Brooklyn, there was also a sizable contingent of parents and teachers — many of them affiliated with advocacy groups that backed the Bloomberg administration’s education policies — who argued that the new standards push students to higher planes of thought and eventually college.

Educational Publisher’s Charity, Accused of Seeking Profits, Will Pay Millions NYT: The Pearson Foundation will pay $7.7 million after the New York State attorney general found that it had broken state law by helping develop products for its corporate parent.

Schools Use Web Tools, and Data Is Seen at Risk NYT: Public schools are adopting web-based services that collect data about students but do not adequately safeguard it from potential misuse, new research has found.

Celebrity Tutors Thrive In Grade-fixated Hong Kong Huffington Post: When the Hong Kong school year began in September, tutor Tony Chow arranged to have his face plastered on the sides of double decker buses to raise his profile.


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  • fb_avatar

    I see Brizard is still the same intellectual giant and bastion of morality he always was. So he is advocating that teachers become part of the "reform" process. The preferred method is for teachers to totally sell out to the Gates foundation. As Calteacher so succinctly states "all the groups he mentions are founded by, or supported by the Gates and, in some instances, the Wall Mart Foundations. Viva Teachers is supported by the Wall Mart and Gates Foundations. Teach Plus, is founded by Gates, and Educators for Excellence was set up by Education Reform Now (ERN), Education Reform Now Advocacy (ERNA) and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), the same groups that were the primary funders behind the anti-teacher, and anti-union television advertising campaign that ran during the Chicago teacher's strike. Educators for Excellence is of course funded by the Gates Foundation, and headed by two former Teach for America recruits. Educators for Excellence also supported efforts to end tenure in New York schools, publicly stating, "We applaud Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to make tenure decisions more meaningful."

    So Brizard wants teacher input, just as long as it is tightly controlled by the message police. The next time any one of these "reformers" asks for real teacher input will be the first time.

  • What is your problem with Gates and Teach for America?

    Also, as a proud CTU member, why are you trolling on CPS' time?

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    Tyler, do a little research would you? TFA and Gates are at the forefront of the destruction of public education. And I know that my lunch period would be the first thing you anti-union thugs would take away, but for now I actually have a 50 minute lunch period to go on the internet. amazing concept, right?

  • Ben Joravsky doubts that CPS kids get 2 hours of art and music a week, citywide - @joravben

  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett challenge perceptions of CPS -

  • How exactly are these groups on the "forefront of the destruction of public education"? What does that even mean?

    Especially when the next big threat against teachers is preventing a teacher's ability to troll during their lunch period... on the school's bandwidth...

  • In reply to tylerpayne:

    Ok. Let's establish a couple facts here, then you could make you own judgement.

    1. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation financially support TFA.

    2. Now here is where the rubber meets the road. As more districts cut deals with TFA to help with "teacher shortages", effective veteran teachers that are too expensive are being shown the door. (Let me stop you before you begin with the whole CTU protects ineffective argument- no doubt there are bad teachers in CPS. Just like there are bad MDs in hospitals, lawyers in courtrooms and musicians in music, i.e. Miley Cyrus- you understand. However, these bad teachers represent a small percentage of the sum total of dedicated passionate educators.) These good teachers are being replaced with non-experienced, non-trained (unless you think a 5-week summer program is enough!) TFA workers. Now, I'm sure they are well intentioned, bright individuals who really want to make a difference. But, that does not mean they are cut out for the classroom. Sadly, their own numbers show that only 7,000 of 24,000 alumni are still actively teaching today. That's only 1 out if every 3.5 "candidates". That's not a good average. The ones who pay are the students who are faced with the "revolving door" of adults they sit in front of. Just food for thought.

  • Many teachers have Internet on their cell phones and leave the building for their lunches so they are not using anything from CPS.
    You sound like a BMW.

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    Man Tyler, you are one angry person. Did a teacher make you stand in the corner too many times? You seem to have some serious hatred for teachers.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Tyler, the way Ed perceives it, any activity which excludes the teachers' union (although the only thing the union can negotiate with CPS is pretty much limited by law to salary and working hours) is by default "against" public education. He plays the role of union defender here but likes to quickly put on his teacher hat when that suits his retort. Very tricky - he is, no doubt, a smart man and I would venture to guess, a passionate teacher.

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    In reply to CPS Parent:

    Listen Michael, stop putting words in my mouth. I am both a teacher and a union member. There is no conflict there.

  • It must be very difficult to maintain such an idiotic viewpoint.

    He does seem to be passionate about labor solidarity (even at the cost of students, parents, and the city). Smart is not quite as obvious from his comments on this thread. Perhaps he will come through with an example of how Gates or TFA are on the "forefront of the destruction of public education." I am interested in this viewpoint, but I doubt there is any substance beyond anti-CTU propaganda.

  • In reply to tylerpayne:

    Tylerpayne: If I can respond to this without getting caught up in mud-slinging, it would be nice. I have a generally skeptical view of Gates education activities. I have been involved in a few of them here in Chicago and while there has been some improvement in their process over the years, what I have seen is that they are more of a distraction than a real promoter of change. If you break everything down into either pro- or anti-teacher unions, I don't think you get very far in making public education better. The problems with Gates have nothing to do with what side of that divide they are on. (And I would say the same of TFA). There are a lot--and I mean a lot--of bad teachers. but they are matched and maybe outmatched by incompetence at the administrative and policy levels. If you pick a side in that battle then you are putting off the really important questions about schooling till some point after the apocalyptic battle between teachers unions and reformers. I see that as irresponsible. It leaves the field of public education in the near-term to angry people who don't really care about young people and who don't have a very good grasp of the issues.

    At any rate, there are a number of problems with how Gates operates and these are exacerbated by their vast financial resources and by the inability of financially desperate school districts to resist Gates cash. The problems I've seen over and over include: they don't stick with anything for very long; they are very weak on holding people accountable (in the small schools initiative accountability consisted of an end-of-year show-and-tell sharing event among all the Gates-funded schools); they tend to flood institutions with money in ways that are distracting; although they do offer scholarships for a few exceptional individuals taking STEM career paths, they are heavily focused on spending their money on school districts rather than on creating opportunities that directly reach young people; and, finally, they take an unapologetically scattershot approach to school reform, without a coherent policy focus.

    Gates may or may not be well-intentioned. It's hard to tell because they are somewhat insular and even arrogant in how they relate to teachers--for example, and perhaps shockingly, they don't solicit teacher input or feedback at the policy level. But they are like the proverbial bull in the China shop.

    I don't think it is time to say that Gates should acknowledge the total failure of their approach to improving public education, but I also think that they have done a lot of harm and haven't even begun to take responsibility for it. They just drive into town, dump some money on a questionable initiative that they inevitably abandon within a few years, then they just leave. It's like the cat in the hat, if he never cleaned up the mess. There's always some sense that the failure is our fault, not the fault of their lack of planning or realism. And because of the feast or famine dynamics of urban school districts today, they are always welcomed back when they drive another truckload of money into the wreckage.

  • In reply to Ira Abrams:

    Thanks for a response. I appreciate the viewpoint. I completely agree that there are far more problems than the simple CPS/CTU issue.

    If there were only a way to focus Gates' efforts in a coherent policy program. Instead of cooperation, we get people condemning the entire organization. If Ed represents the average teacher, then it is no wonder why they bypass teacher input.

  • In reply to tylerpayne:

    I'm disappointed that you can't let that go, tylerpayne and it's unfortunately that kind of gratuitous teacher-baiting that passes for serious discussion of education in a lot of non-professional circles.

  • In reply to Ira Abrams:

    Nice - very well argued, Ira.

  • Even though I'm done with CPS, I must comment on this: I have yet to see any school (where I've worked or others that I have contact with) give students two hours of art each week. They're also supposed to get gym everyday: haha

  • What is going on with CPS? I noticed that there are schools reporting 4 teacher vacancies on the AESOP sub program. Are we short of teachers or are the administrators not hiring to save monies because a sub or no sub is much cheaper than hiring a teacher. CPS changed the way schools are budgeted so principals are not filling absences for sped teachers, ELL teachers or other auxiliary staff. This seems to be much more prevalent in the grammar schools than the high schools.
    Would someone please do a survey and ask about teacher vacancies, substitute coverage and who exactly is covering lunch/recess duty.

    Parents of sped students need to track how many times their child's sped teacher is not allowed to service their child because she/he is providing substitute coverage and demand compensatory services for missed service.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I don't think it surprises anyone as to what is going on in CPS as far as special education services are concerned. Been there, done that: subbed and covered recess duty. When I spoke up to administration about how this was neglecting my students and they weren't receiving their services, my rating was lowered and I was let go in the spring. My heart breaks for these kids, but the abuses that special education teachers go through was enough for me to give up and venture into another career.
    FYI: you will NEVER get the truth from administration, case managers, or counselors as to whether your child is getting appropriate services or time as stated on their IEPs. They will make teachers lie and cover up the truth!

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    I'm on my lunch, Tyler. Can I breathe the Board air now or do I have to bring my own?

    Gates and Walton (and Eli Broad) push reform strategies such as competition, choice, deregulation, incentives, and other market-based approaches. In schools, we teachers tend to prefer collaboration. Competition (for grades, students, test scores, etc.) tends to be highly counterproductive. But, again, no one asks the people who actually work in the schools what they think. Gates and the others throw money at the schools to fund charters, overtesting, and punishing students and teachers for things outside of their control. In my opinion, that is a plan to destroy public education.

    TFA puts essentially untrained college kids into classrooms with students who, instead, need the most experienced teachers available. Most leave after two years, making sure they never really develop an understanding of the students, families or neighborhood.

    In the words of Diane Ravitch:
    "American education has a long history of infatuation with fads and ill-considered ideas. The current obsession with making our schools work like a business may be the worst of them, for it threatens to destroy public education. Who will stand up to the tycoons and politicians and tell them so?"

    And so, will you now answer this question, Tyler? Why do you hate teachers so much? Your hostile, insulting posts are just dripping with hatred for teachers. Why?

  • Let me see if I follow the arguments:

    1. TFA attempts to bring new blood into the teaching ranks by recruiting students from non-education majors. Many wash out, but about 29% stay in education beyond their initial two year contract. This low retention rate makes this program is bad.

    This point seems a bit short-sighted, especially when many education majors are unable to teach several classes schools need. (Advanced science, math, computer programming teachers do not grow on trees... not to mention art and music...) If TFA can bring in 7000 teachers with degrees that equip them to teach challenging classes - while most of which go on to get a M.Ed - then what exactly is the downside?

    2. Experienced teachers are good, inexperienced teachers are bad.

    This seems to be a very broad oversimplification. I'm guessing that you have a cushy $100K+benefits contract. This would explain the devotion to CTU. In your world, if we were to line up schools from the least teacher experience to the most teacher experience, we would find that we ordered schools from worst to best. Not likely, but I do like the simple-minded logic -- it is easy to follow.

    3. "Competition, choice, deregulation, incentives, and other market-based approaches" are bad and prevent "collaboration."

    If a school is doing an excellent job preparing their students for college/work/life, then we should not reward the staff that makes this happen? On the other hand, it does not matter if students are unable to read, write, do basic arithmetic, or meet any of the demands in today's society as long as teachers are collaborating? In CPS, parents find that because they live in a certain area, their children are supposed to go to a certain school. In a socioeconomically segregated world with many terrible schools in underprivileged areas, we should provide absolutely no options -- unless the family can afford to move to an area with a better school?... because it might undermine the already very uncommon practice of teachers from different schools collaborating? This is unacceptable for those of us who have common sense and want a quality education for our two daughters.

    4. "Gates and the others throw money at the schools to fund charters, overtesting, and punishing students and teachers for things outside of their control. In my opinion, that is a plan to destroy public education."

    What things are outside of student or teacher control? I assume that this means poverty, home life, or the other CTU talking points. If you argue that we should expect different outcomes based on socioeconomic issues because rich kids are easier to teach than poor kids, then I will point out that you are advocating separate and unequal education for students based on class. Perhaps if I earned a CTU salary, my kids would deserve a better education than my measly $30K salary... after all, they would be easier to teach.

    At what point does a student become overtested? Is it when they take the test for selective enrollment elementary schools? or high schools? How about the ACT or SAT? What about IB tests and AP tests? Which ones stay and which ones go?

    Gates also throws millions at scholarships for kids in public schools. What a group of jerks. You would think that an organization who cares about kids so much like CTU would give more money to scholarships than a businessman who wants to destroy public education's charity. They don't.

    5."Why do you hate teachers so much? Your hostile, insulting posts are just dripping with hatred for teachers. Why?"

    I do not hate teachers. I hate ideologues with idiotic positions - especially those who can potentially ruin my children's education. I would much rather live in a world where we reward superior schools and fire inferior teachers than subsidize the catastrophe most of CPS is today. If you find this insulting, then it is probably because you fear (or realize) that you are an inferior teacher... Why else would you argue against an annual bonus for doing a good job?

  • In reply to tylerpayne:

    Tyler, you are obviously unhappy with the education that your children are receiving. Perhaps your time would be better spent taking classes so you could get one of those "$100K CTU jobs". I'm sure you would be a shoe in to replace all those "inferior" teachers out there who are hell bent on ruining your children's education!

  • In reply to tylerpayne:

    I just wanted to respond to a question tyler raises in point 4. "At what point does a student become overtested?" In some schools the mandated tests take up to 33 days or about 18% of the days a child is in school, days that could be devoted to teaching. Children are tested throughout the year. Also, the crucial ISATs take place in the spring well before the end of the school year, so how they are a measure of what a child learned during that school year is beyond me.

    In some schools, so-called "enrichment experiences" like field trips, which are a necessary part of educating children who do not have the same level of experience outside their own neighborhoods that more advantaged children do, are not allowed during the "sacred" test periods, so much of the school year.

    We wonder why our children have been falling behind children in other countries. Part of the reason is that they receive fewer days of actual instruction than their peers in other countries. Teachers complain about this all the time, but no one is listening. They know that their students are too busy taking tests to learn new things, to deepen their understanding of subjects like science, for example.

    On that point, science, because it isn't tested at other than 4th and 7th grades, gets short shrift in many schools, particularly in the primary grades. And the PISA results show it. Our children are not building a solid foundation in science, and, frankly, over-testing is part of the reason for that.

    How much is too much? Our current testing regime is too much if what we're interested in is having children learn. It's perfect, if what we're interested in is generating lots of money for the testing companies ... oh, and undermining public education. Keep the teachers from actually teaching, depress student achievement scores, point the finger at the terrible teachers. You know the rest of that sad story.

    We just need to get sensible about testing. Other countries have a much more reasonable approach. See this excellent report:

  • In reply to district299reader:

    I agree that the 18% is disconcerting. However, which tests do you cut? ACT? AP?

    That ratio has two problems: the numerator (test days) is too big and the denominator (school days) is too small... Both are problems. If one compares the United States sends students to class only 175 days a year (compared to nearly 200-220 found in most of the developed world), then it looks like there may be a larger problem at work.

    I can only imagine the CTU revolt if we demanded a longer school year, especially after the Mayor extended the school day. I would imagine several more pouting protests rather than quality instruction...

  • In reply to tylerpayne:

    tylerpayne From my perspective the "over testing" is strictly a K-8 problem. There are a few required tests in high school but they are also useful/needed for college entrance or career planning. AP, SAT, SAT2 are optional for those students who wish to take them.

  • Well Tyler

    Or should i call you gremlin.One simple question:
    Is anyone paying you to write your crap?
    I am not stupid and if 29% of TFA's stay in education
    it is not in the classroom.Could you, or your patron,
    please tell how many are still in CLASSROOMS teaching
    after 5 years?
    Of the 5 TFA teachers in my school who came in in 2008
    not one is left.One fellow with zero experience just happened to
    score 4 IB classes and one honors classes his first year.
    In year two he only got 3IB classes and two regular.The shock of
    that caused him to leave.
    Personally TFA or not you have the gift or you do not.But I do not
    believe the program is a long term success.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    Totally curious- does anyone know solid stats on the retention rate of university-trained new teachers in low-income, urban schools? Is it much higher than 29% over 5 years?

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    Well Tyler, after being called stupid, idiotic and a union ideologue by you I can only say one thing: try anger management.

    Also, maybe if you had a union you wouldn't have to try to get by on $30K. And incidentally, that is not my fault the the fault of the CTU, so stop the hate, thanks.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    In other words, you do not have a response.

    Read my comments carefully. I describe your comments' viewpoint. The only term I have used for you is "passionate", yet you anointed me an "anti-union thug". I have yet to call you stupid, idiotic, or a union ideologue. It must really be disappointing to be inaccurate so many times on one thread.

    Bringing up the other side is not hate, it is having a discussion. You are cowering in the corner of the comments section because you know you're beat.

  • Whoa! After reading these comments I am wondering why CPS is so broke that it cannot pay for subs yet can subsidize a TFA program AND pump monies into charter schools! Why aren't the parents of the children with disabilities incensed when their child's teacher is told to shut down an inclusion/resource program to act as a substitute teacher so the school can save $150.00 a day. I am also wondering why we need TFA when 1,000 teachers lost their jobs last June.
    Lots of questions…...

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Is the district not paying for subs or are subs not taking jobs? I just read a comment somewhere else on this blog that subs are available and not filling positions. Which is true? What is behind the sub crisis in Chicago?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Good question! I would like to know how many subs have navigated the sign up process. If there is a gap between the time a teacher retired and signed up to sub then CPS requires a drug screen, background check and TB test at the teacher's expense.

    I do know that some teachers have been told NOT to enter in their absence to AESOP so that the school can save the 150.00 a day-these are ancillary staff positions such as ELL and SPED resource etc

    CPS has sent out letters to retired teachers to return to CPS and sub but I am not sure what the response has been. I thought there would be a substantial amount of displaced teachers who would sub this year. Some retired teachers have stated to me that they would not return to CPS because they did not want to take away a displaced teacher's spot.

    Some schools are so out of control that subs refuse to return and maybe that's why some schools are experiencing a shortage whereas others are not. Some retired teachers will sub only at the school they retired from and savvy clerks call them for leaves etc.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Dear 299

    Last Spring I blogged about the trials and tribulations of applying
    for substitute service.If you like i will dig it out and post it here.
    In brief the process stretched from Homewood,for fingerprints,
    to NIU ,for transcripts, with stops in between for my birth certificate.
    I even had to take that stupid test which measured my ability
    to react in situations, at least I think that was what it was for.
    From online to application to sub card in hand 13 months.

  • In reply to rbusch:

    If I'm not wrong there's also the "TQP" (teacher quality pool) that ALL subs have to go through in order to sub or get a regular position in CPS. You need two administrator recommendations that you need to upload, plus go through a phone or in person interview with Clark Street to even begin applying for any teacher position. Not to mention all the above stuff you listed. BIG, giant hoops to go through.

  • fb_avatar

    You have directed all of these comments at me:

    "I hate ideologues with idiotic positions - especially those who can potentially ruin my children's education."

    "It must be very difficult to maintain such an idiotic viewpoint."

    "He does seem to be passionate about labor solidarity (even at the cost of students, parents, and the city). Smart is not quite as obvious from his comments on this thread."

    "I have yet to call you stupid, idiotic, or a union ideologue."

    So Tyler, you said those things. You are already showing yourself to have serious anger issues, now you are showing yourself to be a liar. Why you decided to direct your fury at me I don't know. Are you besties with Brizard re. my original comment?

  • OT but I don't know where else to post this unbelievable news story about the amount of money CPS employees owe the city-these are role models-it is disgusting. I have absolutely no respect for these people-obviously lacking a moral compass.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Almost as scandalous as the amount of money owed TO CPS employees' pension funds....... Talk about people lacking a moral compass, how about the current and most recent former mayor, Chicago City Council, State Legislators and CPS Board Members. Where's your outrage for this much bigger pension rip-off?

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