Today’s news includes more coverage of the proposed changes in school discipline (esp. in younger grades – much like what other districts are doing), plus a scathing report on last year’s school closings process. Nationally, special education is going to get more scrutiny from the USDE according to a big announcement from Arne Duncan yesterday.
CPS softens strict discipline policies WBEZ: It’s something CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said she noticed when she first started working in Chicago. “It’s the strictest zero-tolerance policy that I’ve ever seen in the country,” Byrd-Bennett said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “We have a broad range of suspendable offenses. For example, we’re the only major school district that allow(s) for out-of-school suspensions for cell phone use.”
When a Chicago Public Schools teacher smells marijuana ChicagoNow: At tomorrow’s Chicago Public Schools Board meeting, Barbara Byrd-Bennett will present revisions to the Student Code of Conduct that, according a CPS press release, “recognize that the best way to support student learning is to keep kids in school
Three districts rewrite rules for campus police EdSource Today: Oakland Unified, San Francisco Unified and Pasadena Unified are revamping their policies to ensure that police are called as a last resort.
CLOSINGS / NEW SCHOOLS
Legislative task force: CPS closings cost taxpayers, hurt kids Chicago Sun-Times: A scathing report released Tuesday questions how Chicago Public Schools handled the massive school closings last year.
Task force report critical of CPS Chicago Tribune: A legislative task force looking into school actions including closures issued a report Tuesday critical of Chicago Public Schools’ 10-year facilities master plan and the district’s decision last year to shut nearly 50 schools.
Could you build a better school? Chicago Tribune: This tension was enhanced when Chicago Public Schools closed some 50 underperforming and underutilized elementary schools last year, then later announced approval of a handful of new charter schools. So why not a real competition for new schools?
GANGS / SAFETY
Gangs and CPS, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and Chicago’s World Cup fever WBEZ: We discuss how gangs affect students and what community groups are doing to prevent it.
Teen stands up to gang and nearly loses his life Tribune: Amid the family bodegas and bustling taquerias of Little Village, the Latin Kings seemed to be everywhere. They were in the hallways at school and on the corners as he walked home.
Here’s your say on Karen Lewis Chicago Sun-Times: Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis gets vile letters from her critics. Last week, I wrote about Lewis’ mission to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel and conquer obesity. Readers weighed in. Most were polite — but no fans of Lewis.
Lincoln Elementary Annex Plan Triggers Threat of Lawsuit DNAinfo: The parents say the plan is unsafe, wastes taxpayer money and violates city zoning laws and Chicago Public Schools guidelines.
A ‘Major Shift’ In Oversight Of Special Education NPR: Education Secretary Arne Duncan announces new measures for ensuring that students with disabilities are making progress.
Shift in Law on Disability and Students Shows Lapses NYT: The Education Department said that it would evaluate growth in students with disabilities over time and will compare their test scores with those of students not designated with special needs.
MPS lacks capacity to provide basics to special-ed students, external audit finds MinnPost: At its Tuesday night meeting, the Minneapolis board of education will get harsh news about an external audit that found the district lacks the capacity to effectively provide even basic programming to its special-education students.
States’ special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama … Washington Post: The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more- stringent criteria that drop the number of jurisdictions in compliance..
Arne Duncan to New Orleans education conference: ‘We need more teacher … The Times-Picayune: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says “far too many effective educators” are leaving the field early, and part of the problem is a lack of opportunities to make their voices heard.
Reading aloud to young children benefits brain development PBS NewsHour: The nation’s largest pediatricians group is now formally urging parents to read aloud to their children daily from infancy. The American Academy of Pediatrics says doing so stimulates early brain development and helps build key language, literacy and social skills.
At School, Turning Good Food Into Perfectly Good Compost New York Times: The city is also teaming up with school districts in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando to make bulk purchases of compostable plates that are used in place of plastic foam plates,
NYC Student Tackles the Last Test Standing Between Her and a High School Diploma WNYC: When Radio Rookie Danielle Motindabeka came to the United States at age 13, she didn’t speak English. By the time she was in high school, Danielle had mastered the language well enough to pass six Regents exams and maintain an 85 average. There was just one thing keeping her from earning a diploma: the U.S. History Regents exam.