Today’s school news includes a WBEZ segment about bringing back truancy officers (and an interview with one former truant officer), plus a Second City Cop blog post about how nobody’s supervising Safe Passages anymore (there was a murder near one of the schools a recent afternoon) and the hourly workers aren’t around. Also see a couple of articles about choice (charters and parochial) in 2015, plus national news (including an NPR item about former Chicago charter guru John Ayers) and news from other cities.
Could truant officers return to Chicago Public Schools? WBEZ: A state task force took a long, hard look at this question too, and it suggested some fixes for CPS to improve its record when it comes to keeping kids in class. It turns out the state of Illinois is interested in having truant officers return to CPS — at least in theory.
“Safe Passage” not so Safe Second City Cop: Evidently, no one got the memo that the supposedly “safe” passages have been abandoned after the second week of school. There isn’t any one on the Safe Passages aside from the $10 per hour folks…but no one is checking that they’re actually there….most times, they aren’t.
Speed Cams Tag Drivers Even In The Summer, Because Chicago TechDirt: It turns out the ticketing revenue might still be inflated, even at the crisis number, as a bunch of speeding tickets were generated by cameras within school zones flagging drivers for driving over the school zone limit in the summertime.
Is 2015 the year for school choice in Illinois? IL Statehouse News: Illinois governor-elect Bruce Rauner has made it clear schools are his top priority. Not just Illinois’ public schools, said Andrew Broy, president of Illinois’ Network of Charter Schools, but perhaps all schools. Broy told Illinois Watchdog Radio’s Benjamin Yount that Rauner has always been an ally of charter schools, but Broy says what he hears from the newly elected governor provides the most hope in years.
Cupich to lead Catholic school system diverse in needs, benefits Tribune: The fate of more than 83,000 schoolchildren will be in the balance as Bishop Blase Cupich takes the reins of Chicago’s archdiocese next week. But the schools they attend are about more than reading, writing and arithmetic.
Fioretti, Progressive Caucus Call for Council Hearings on CPS Swap Deals NBC Chicago: Both mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti and aldermen from the City Council’s Progressive Reform Caucus have called for hearings on the Chicago Public Schools borrowing practices, specifically the series of deals from 2003 to 2007 that ended up costing ..
Emanuel says he didn’t do risky interest-rate swaps, but he’s done 4 Tribune: Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week distanced himself from the risky derivatives that are draining funds from the city’s school system, declaring: “Under my tenure, there have been no swaps.”
‘Chuy’ Garcia Talks Race, Inequality In Chicago; Supports Graduated State Income Tax Progress IL: Garcia said property taxes, which are a major source of revenue for public education in the city and state, are “very regressive in terms of how they affect the general population” and are “not the best source to fund schools.”
Michelle Obama to Teen: ‘It’s an Honor For You To Represent My Hometown’ DNAinfo: When Chicago Public Schools student Jennifer Gonzalez stepped up to a White House podium Monday, nervous to give a speech in front of first lady Michelle Obama and dozens of other dignitaries, she fell back on her theater training.
Evanston resident receives White House award for connecting Chicago students …
Daily Northwestern: … at the White House. Halperin accepted the award on behalf of the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, which was honored for its after-school program that puts on productions of Shakespeare plays featuring students and teachers from Chicago Public Schools.
Kevin Huffman Leaving Post as Tennessee K-12 Chief State EdWatch: Huffman was appointed state education commissioner in 2011, and has overseen major changes in Tennessee education policy, many of them tied to the common core. See also ChalkbeatTN.
In DC to talk education, Newark schools chief faces protest over reforms Washington Post: Cami Anderson, who runs the largest school district in New Jersey, came to Washington on Thursday to give a quiet talk about education at a think tank. But the staid event quickly turned dramatic when a busload of angry residents followed Anderson from Newark in a display of the slugfest politics that have infused debate over public education across the country.
Common Core Reading: The Struggle Over Struggle NPR: This idea, that kids really need to grapple with complex reading material, says a lot about the soul of the Common Core. And it’s controversial, raising fears among some parents and educators that kids, in the process, are being asked to struggle too much.
A Botched Study Raises Bigger Questions NPR: The report attempted to use an approach called value-added modeling. And value-added is currently the golden fleece for anyone questing after what’s really working in education. Value-added models promise to provide a detailed, nuanced picture of school performance — to screen out the background noise and zero in on the impact of individual schools and even individual classrooms. But value-added modeling, it turns out, is really, really hard.
Young and inexperienced, a new principal tries to turn around a New Orleans charter school Hechinger Report: “We know effective teachers are crucial to moving our students forward,” says Hardy, pausing for a few seconds before she enters a second-grade classroom. “We have good teachers. My challenge is this: How do I, as a school leader, grow their effectiveness and grow it more quickly?”
See how each D.C. charter school fared under new rating system Washington Post: More than 12,000 students — nearly a third of the city’s charter school students — are enrolled in charters that ranked in the highest of three performance tiers, an increase of 9 percent over last year.
L.A. Unified says girl, 14, could consent to sex with teacher LA Times: L.A. Unified officials are coming under fire for allowing their attorneys to argue that a 14-year-old student was mature enough to consent to sex with her middle school math teacher.
Parents Urge Mayor to Honor Pledge Against Co-Locations WNYC: In a letter sent on Friday, and signed by many members of the city’s 32 community education councils as well as groups like Class Size Matters, they said co-locations violated students’ rights because they led to crowded conditions.