First-Day Attendance Was Up (So What?)

First-Day Attendance Was Up (So What?)

Just as CPS is approving more Safe Passage schools, fighting and after-school violence breaks out at a couple of schools.  Meanwhile, CPS announces first-day attendance figures — Catalyst points out that the number is always somehow higher than the previous year (and is mostly symbolic, anyway). Elsewhere, EdWeek ponders the education impact of Obama Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced his retirement.  And a new report from NYC finds that only about 5 percent of high-poverty schools have student proficiency rates above 50 percent. 


Bronzeville School Evacuated After Fight Breaks Out CBS Local: Cell phone video shot by a student shows the school-wide evacuation after someone pulled a fire alarm around noon. What it doesn’t show was the all-out brawl that broke out in the halls afterward.

Teen boy critically wounded, girl shot in South Side attack among 8 wounded Sun Times: Two Dunbar Career Academy High School students were shot and wounded on the border between Chicago’s Englewood and Park Manor neighborhoods Thursday afternoon, authorities said.


City Hall sit-in wins concessions for Dyett High School students Chicago Sun-Times: “We appreciate the mayor’s staff that are being responsive but we’re not satisfied until all the students’ demands are met, and most importantly, until Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Board of Education and (CPS CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett sign onto Dyett Global…

School board takes on cleanliness controversy WBEZ: The parent who read the comment, Jennie Biggs, has three children at Sheridan Elementary in Bridgeport and is also part of a parent group called Raise Your Hand. That group released the results of an informal survey they did over the last week, which got 162 responses across 60 schools.

First-day attendance Catalyst: Continuing a kind of dubious tradition started by former CEO Arne Duncan, officials announced Wednesday that first-day attendance was better than ever this year. Accountability Chief John Barker  told board members at their monthly meeting that 93.7 percent of enrolled students showed up on the first day of class — which is ever so slightly higher than last year’s 93.5 percent rate.


Elementary School Test Prep: Pros and Cons CPS Obsessed: Pros: What can it hurt? Kid gets extra learning time. Cons: Gives some kids in the system a possible unfair edge over others (typically meaning that higher socio-economic kids get an advantage)


The Challenges of a Youth Complicated by Poverty WNYC: Daniel Cardinali is president of Communities in Schools, a federated network of nonprofits that are locally controlled, locally financed, and aim to bring case workers and resources to at-risk students and communities that need it most. And he argues that to help students like Jairo, education policy makers need to change some of their assumptions about how school works.

Attorney General Holder to Step Down, Promoted Changes in School Discipline EdWeek: In the education world, he is perhaps best known for his efforts to address disproportionately high discipline rates for students from certain racial and ethnic groups. Alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Holder also encouraged schools to step back from zero-tolerance policies that the two said could sometimes lead to heavy-handed punishments for minor rule violations.

Winners of Federal Teacher-Prep Grants Include Many Familiar Names Teacher Beat: Two-thirds of grantees have been funded in the past, but the results of their efforts aren’t clear.


NYC charter schools help poor kids hit 50% pass rate, says report by pro-charter group NY Daily News: A survey by Families for Excellent Schools found that only 46 of 925 high-poverty city schools surveyed reached 50% pass rates — and half of those were charter schools.

With Climbing Graduation Rates Come Renewed Doubts Texas Tribune: In a decade, Texas has gone from an example of the nation’s dropout crisis to the second-highest graduation rate in the country. But that climb has not been matched by success in measures of college and career readiness.

D.C. Says It Now Knows Why Forty Percent Of Students Don’t Graduate WAMU: Forty percent of ninth graders in D.C. public schools don’t graduate on time, and now city officials say they have identified some of the characteristics and challenges faced by those students. See also Washington Post



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  • Mayor Emanuel's reversal on Obama High @foolforCPS (aka Julie Vassilatos)

  • Zorn: The campaign to keep Karen Lewis out of the race - Chicago Tribune

    Rahm allies are obviously worried about her running, Zorn notes, but the "conflict of interest" concern goes both ways, if it goes anywhere at all.

  • Chicago public schools will get money for no-show students, again | WBEZ or Tribune

  • Do you really want Lewis to be a mayor?
    Does she have a capacity(intellectual) ?
    You must be kidding.
    Her racist comments will definitely eliminate whites from her supporters pool.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Many whites are indeed supporting Karen as are African-Americans and Latinos. The hatred for Emanuel is widespread. In the end it, all Emanuel has is 1% and $8 millio

  • In reply to district299reader:

    No. Many white, African-American and Latino voters would NEVER vote for Karen Lewis. At some point, reality sets in and voters realize what a mistake it would be to elect Karen Lewis. Running Chicago is a big job that takes skills and leadership that Karen Lewis just does not have. She is not capable to manage the budget. She is not capable to manage the range of city departments. She is certainly not qualified to handle any significant disaster that may come our way. Either natural disaster or terrorist attack. Karen Lewis could not handle the pressure when it counts. No way would I vote for Karen Lewis.

    As a good friend said to me, "I have said that I will vote for anyone but Rahm, but I do have my standards and I am not stupid. There is no way could I ever vote for Karen Lewis."

  • In reply to district299reader:

    One of Emanuel's most famous quotes is "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

    His first thought in a crisis situation is how to exploit it. This is the last thing Chicago needs in the event of a disaster.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Well you make some good points,however you forgot to mention she is smart enough to know her limitations and just might hire competent people to actually run the city.I am more leery of a minute manager
    who tries to control everything.

  • Karen is the president of CTU which is a large, fiscally solvent organization. Chicago under Emanuel has had it's bond rating drop a number of times. He is giving away TIF tax dollars to private organizations. He refuses to revisit the disastrous parking meter deal. The speed camera deal turned out to be a scam. Emanuel has shown he is not capable of managing city finances.

    Emanuel has no knowledge of schools, transit, housing, garbage pickup etc. and the people he appoints are often inept outsiders who flee after a few years. Karen would appoint veterans with institutional knowledge who are actually from Chicago and are thus actual stakeholders.

    If you're voting "in case of terrorist attack or natural disaster" I'm not sure what you think Emanuel would do. Emanuel is all about the scripted photo op, not dealing with situations "on the ground." He is certainly no Rudy Guiliani. Nevertheless, if you are voting for an individual based on the slim possibility of a terrorist attack, you should write in "Sully Sullenberger." I know he isn't from Chicago, but that never stopped the little Wilmette ballerina.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    No way. The CTU is nothing like running Chicago. It is not even close or comparable. It is fiscally sound? Because it takes forced dues from members? Bond rating dropped because of the pension problems and the pension problems can be traced back to mayor daley, mike madigan and other cronies down in springfield. CTU was complicit in the pension deals and got unsustainable concessions. CTU needs to solve the pension crisis as much as springfield. Yes, the bond rating did drop, not because of Rahm, because of CTU, daley and madigan. Rahm did try to change the parking meter deal and did get millions back. Parking Meter mess is the legacy of Daley. Rahm has managed city finances better than anyone for decades. Karen is clueless about finances.

    Rahm has done more in his first term that has benefited students, commuters and residents. You saying otherwise is just the pr machine at the CTU. My kids have a longer and better school day, they have recess, they have a better curriculum and there is less testing. What is not to love about that? My garbage is picked up more efficiently with grids and the garbage people even clean up around the alley. 311 is very responsive. No complaints. CTA is great. Red line improvements rock! Makes my life easier every day. Great job with a heck of a lot of snow this winter. Sure there were potholes, but the city caught up and got ahead of it with very impressive street projects this summer. I have new water and a smooth new street. Again, no complaints, just compliments to Rahm.

    You are completely wrong with a crisis or terrorist attack. First, it is something people do and should consider in voting. You obviously need to look at the news beyond the ctu website. There is a whole world out there that Karen Lewis has no clue about. The difference is Karen Lewis would freak out under pressure and need people around her to calm her down. Just like during the strike. Rahm is a leader who would calm those down around him and lead the city though whatever may happen. He would get the resources needed from the federal government and I would trust him. No way would I ever trust Karen Lewis with my family's well being. Plain and simple, she just doesn't have it and her new fake smile will not do the trick. Voters are not stupid.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Your post reeks of sexism. We have no idea how Rahm would react in the event of some hypothetical catastrophe, but to assume Karen Lewis would succumb to hysteria is the most ignorant kind of stereotyping. You could not more perfectly illustrate why Rahm's few supporters are so out of touch and destined to lose this race.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Has nothing to do with sexism. It has to do with Karen Lewis being incompetent in high stress situations. The strike proved it. She wigged out and you know it happened. Plus, she had 400,000 students miss 3 extra days of school because of her jewish holiday. Not sexist, just realist.

  • "Red line improvements rock!" -Nobody who rides the Red Line would talk like this. "311 is very responsive"- man, now everybody knows your trying to blow smoke up our azzes.

    I do agree with you that - "voters are not stupid"- Emanuel is as good as finished and his lame last minute attempts to garner votes aren't working.

  • In reply to district299reader:

    Red line is great now and I do ride it. You stereotype much? 311 has responded. Why are you insulting the people who work hard at 311 and city departments?

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