Turnarounds, Intimidation, Testing!

Turnarounds, Intimidation, Testing!

Welcome back! Comments over the weekend focused on whether the ISAT protests/CPS response were a big deal or not (including the possibility of teacher intimidation). News of the day includes more about the three turnarounds (most of it focused on the impact on teachers), a blog post about teacher misconduct, a bit more about the CPS presence at schools where teachers and parents are protesting tests.  See also softened anti-charter rhetoric in New York City, and Common Core practice testing begins this week. More throughout the day in comments and via @district299.


CPS proposes three new school turnarounds Catalyst:  CPS officials announced late Friday afternoon that they are proposing turnarounds for three schools: Dvorak in North Lawndale, McNair in Austin and Gresham in Auburn-Gresham. After a round of public and community hearings in early April, the proposals will likely be voted on at the April board meeting.

CPS has 3 schools on ‘turnaround’ list Tribune: Turnarounds this year were kept to a minimum — last year the board approved five AUSL takeovers and the year before that six. “What I wanted to do last year was to get the heavy lifting out of the way so that we can then proceed to make the kind of strides our children can make,” said district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “So now as we look at our schools at the lowest trajectory, I don’t think we can just close an eye and say, ‘Well, we’re just going to move along.’ We’ve got to also take action.”

All staff to be dismissed at three low-performing CPS schools WBEZ: Under the turnaround model, new staff are also CTU teachers. But the union blasted turnarounds as a strategy to get rid of veteran African American teachers, whom Sharkey says kids need as role models. Nearly all students in the three schools targeted for turnaround are poor and black.

CPS CEO Recommends Turnarounds For Three Schools CBS Local: The Chicago Teachers Union on Friday questioned the recommendation and said layoffs will affect predominantly African-American elementary schools. CTU President Karen Lewis called the decision “a continued war on older black educators.

CPS has 3 schools on ‘turnaround’ list Tribune: After closing nearly 50 schools last year, Chicago Public Schools officials are taking a measured approach on school actions this year, placing just three schools on track to have their staffs overhauled because of subpar performance.


CPS Turns ISAT Probe to Saucedo Academy, Rattling Parents DNAinfo: “We are morally outraged to learn that CPS’ law department is going throughout the district interrogating our students and educators about how they came opting-out of the ISAT,” said CTU President Karen Lewis. See also Tribune.

Mayor Rahm sends in the ISAT inspectors to Drummond elementary school Chicago Reader: It’s being phased out. It plays no role in high school or college placement. So this whole showdown is little more than another attempt by Mayor Emanuel to show CTU president Karen Lewis that his thing is bigger than hers.

Scripps Howard Awards honor nation’s best 2013 journalism Wall Street Journal: The series by Julie Snyder, Ben Calhoun, Ira Glass, Alex Kotlowitz, Linda Lutton and Robyn Semien document daily life in a Chicago school that’s struggling to thrive in a neighborhood beset by gun violence.


Teacher misconduct in CPS? ChicagoNow: It is misconduct that Barbara Byrd Bennett seems to be unaware of what is actually happening in her own schools. That she categorically denies that even a single child has been questioned. That she is willfully ignorant of the reality of a ten-year-old ..


Only 29 percent ready to re-elect their member of Congress CainTV: Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis wants schools to teach social justice, not “consumerism.” Lewis spoke about ways to avoid “consumerist” messages…

Karen Lewis sees a racial cause for an election defeat Crain’s Chicago Business: That’s exactly what Karen Lewis and the folks at the Chicago Teachers Union are doing in explaining why things turned out badly for them in a key legislative race March 18. They really ought to know better than to play with such fire in a city that …

New speed cameras to start issuing tickets Sunday Sun Times: Tickets will be issued starting Sunday to anyone caught by new automated speed cameras near several Chicago high schools and parks.


From de Blasio, Gentler Words About Charter Schools WNYC:  Mayor Bill de Blasio, in an effort to mend fences on charter schools, emphasized common ground and a desire to “shake the foundations” of the school system. See also ChalkbeatNY

‘Union Power’ wins big but most UTLA members didn’t vote LA School Report: The progressive group — which plans to call for a strike if a new teacher contract can’t be negotiated soon — won outright in races for NEA Affiliate vice president, AFT Affiliate vice president, Elementary VP, Secondary VP, Treasurer, and Secretary. The race for President will be decided in a run-off pitting Union Power leader, Alex Caputo-Pearl, against incumbent Warren Fletcher.

Meet Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Karen Garza WAMU: In her first year on the job, the Fairfax County schools chief is proposing to cut 700 staff positions and boost teacher pay. Karen Garza is here to talk about education.

Snow and severe winter take a toll on classroom learning Washington Post: Teachers wonder if first-graders will make their reading goals as they lose ground on snow days, and parents have been surprised by extra homework.

New Orleans charter schools scramble to teach non-English speakers Hechinger Report: On-site interpreters are scarce, parents said. Students frequently end up interpreting between teachers and parents at report card conferences — and even at meetings where their own discipline problems are being discussed.


Ready, set … California schools finally start new computer test this week KPCC: For the next 10 weeks, California students will embark on that dreaded annual rite of passage: the standardized test. But this year, they won’t need their number 2 pencils. Test will be given on computer for the first time this year – and school districts and the test provider have been scrambling to get ready.

Michelle Obama hosts education roundtable in China Fox News: U.S. first lady Michelle Obama told Chinese professors, students and parents on Sunday that she wouldn’t have risen to where she was if her parents hadn’t pushed for her to get a goodeducation.

Video: Duncan: New Report Details ‘Opportunity Gap’ NBC News: Education Secretary Arne Duncan announces the results of a report which details the opportunity gap in American schools for students K-12.

Report: Widespread Racial Disparities In Public School Punishments NPR: A U.S. Education Department report finds what it calls a pattern of punitive policies and educational neglect that disproportionately hurt black, Latino and Native American students in public schools.


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  • so parents at Gresham Elementary aren't so sure that a turnaround is the worst thing that ever happened, reports @dnahutson http://ht.ly/uWZDc

    But "something has got to give" at the school after years of academic probation, she said. "Maybe with this turnaround Gresham will be a better school."

  • Even tough this data is two years old and does not include the data for Marquette which was AUSLED in 2012 the data does not impress me as a teacher and the comments section should definitely concern parents. Sherman, the first AUSLed school, does not show impressive results. I would really be interested in teacher turnover rates at these schools. If I remember correctly didn't one of the newly hired AUSL teachers at Sherman have a student sleepover at her house? I think this was in the Sun-Times and Chicago Magazine.


  • http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/26439164-452/is-this-how-we-thank-our-teachers.html

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