Proposals Lack Budget Specifics, Copy CTU Priorities

Proposals Lack Budget Specifics, Copy CTU Priorities

Today’s news includes a closer look at some of the City Hall challengers’ CPS-related proposals, noting (in WBEZ) that in some cases they closely resemble CTU priorities and in others (Tribune) they lack any realistic spending offsets or revenue increases to pay for extras and cover current deficits. Elsewhere, there’s more money for school Internet access being provided, and the new math is a struggle for students and teachers in Texas.

Mayoral candidate Garcia releases education plan WBEZ: Parts of the plan are strikingly similar to a policy paper put out by the Chicago Teachers Union two and a half years ago. So much so, that whole sentences in the summary are pulled word for word from that paper. But Garcia said he got input from several groups, not just the CTU.

The real debate about Chicago schools Tribune (editorial page): It’s not just that there is no more money to spend on extra added attractions. There is not enough money to keep the school system operating. Not even close.  Any honest debate in this campaign about the future of education will have to be framed by blunt answers on how Chicago will fix the astounding financial shortfall the schools face.

Garcia unveils education plan, vows to cut back testing Sun Times: Without saying how he would find the money, Garcia said he also wants to: halt school closings; reduce class sizes now among the highest in the state; open smaller schools like the one he championed in Little Village; expand dual language programs in all communities; and “expand public education to include pre-kindergarten and even earlier.”

Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia wants Rahm in the deep waters of an April runoff Tribune (Kass): “More important than likability and style is the fact that I hear from people all over the city — but especially cops and firefighters — is that they really dislike him strongly, perhaps more than any mayor in recent history,” Cook County Commissioner Garcia said Thursday in an interview on WLS-AM’s Kass & Cohn show.

LA, New York, Chicago Schools Say ‘No’ To Chicken Raised With Antibiotics WBUR Boston: This week, school districts in Los Angles, New York, Chicago and several other big cities announced they would ban the purchase of chickens that have been raised on antibiotics to use in school lunches.


F.C.C. Increases Money for E-Rate Program for Internet in Schools and Libraries NYT: The move will increase money for schools and libraries to connect to the Internet. See also KPCCEdSource TodayNYT

Student retention rates declining in U.S. EdSource Today: The often controversial practice of holding struggling students back a grade appears to be losing favor, according to a national study of retention rates released Thursday. Overall retention rates for grades 1 through 9 declined by almost half between 2004-05 and 2009-10.

For U.S. Schoolgirls, Discipline Varies by Race WNYC: According to the Department of Education’s Office For Civil Rights, black girls in public elementary and high schools are suspended at a rate of 12 percent. When comparing stats with their white counterparts, the suspension rate drops to 2 percent.


Common Core repeal maneuver fails in Ohio House AP: State Rep. John Adams, a Republican from Sidney in western Ohio, attempted during an Ohio House floor session on Wednesday to add the repeal language into legislation dealing with high school world history courses.

John King Jr., New York State’s Education Chief, to Leave Many Policy Wars Behind NYT: Whoever replaces Dr. King will have to juggle issues like the Common Core standards, teacher evaluation and training, and charter schools. See also ChalkbeatNY

New Math Standards a Hurdle for Some Students and Teachers in Texas Texas Tribune: Three months into the school year, the transition has proved challenging. As parents and educators question whether the rigor of the new curriculum is developmentally appropriate, school officials are reporting that they lack the resources to help teachers learn the new material.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Mayor Mitch Landrieu tour charter school Students at Arthur Ashe Charter School wait to great U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Mayor Mitch Landrieu before they tour the wchool at 1456 Gardena Drive in New Orleans Thursday, December 10, 2014.

Success Academy charter schools see 56% rise in applications NYDN: More than 6,000 families have already applied to Success Academy, which operates 32 city schools. The demand for a charter school reached an all-time high last year, with more than 16,400 families vying for fewer than 3,000 spots.

NYC Council Pushes For More Diversity at Top Schools WNYC: Meanwhile the federal Department of Education is still investigating a civil rights complaint that claims New York City discriminates against black and Latino students by using a multiple choice test as the sole criterion for the specialized high schools. See also ChalkbeatNY

As teacher diversity effort begins in Montgomery, recent data show little change Washington Post: Montgomery County announced a new teacher diversity initiative this week that officials hope will bring significant change to the workforce in years to come.Past efforts to spur diversity have not had great impact, as shown in the figures below, which school officials released Tuesday.


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  • I have to say I don’t disagree with the Tribune editorial: “The real debate about Chicago schools,” in that it is true that neither 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia has as yet set forward a strategy to deal with the fiscal problems of CPS. But amazingly missing from the editorial was a similar critique of Mayor Emanuel, because the complaint applies to the Mayor too.

    None of the above want to admit what will be required to stabilize educational finance in the years to come assuming the Illinois Supreme Court prohibits any changes to the benefits of retired teachers which is highly likely. Even with no increase in the salary structure for unionized teachers in Chicago, CPS will have less available funding for the classrooms in the future given the current revenue structure. It’s a safe bet Governor Rauner isn’t going to promote higher state taxes and transfer proceeds to CPS to rescue the district.

    The bad news is the only ways out of this situation will likely be seeking an exemption for the current property tax cap applied to CPS in order to increase the rate significantly over a period of time, increasing class sizes and laying off a significant number of teachers, or balancing property tax increases with teacher layoffs. That is the ugly big picture we are faced with. Do you think any of these candidates what to discuss that?

    What about TIF reform, yes what about it? There are as many trade unionists in the metropolitan area opposed to reducing the number of TIF funded projects as there are teachers who might support it. Moreover the money available from that pot is finite and not a treasure trove. Other ideas like the commuter tax, or a city income tax, are outside the legal authority of a school district in the State of Illinois to levy even if they wanted and it were constitutional. Closing property tax assessment loopholes on commercial property are always a popular strategy, but for every loophole closed another one is created by clever tax attorneys.

    What I would like to see for just once before I retire are Mayoral candidates that first recognize that the school tax rate in the City of Chicago is lower than that of almost every other school district in Cook County, while increasing property taxes is despised by voters in the context of Chicago it’s not impossible to do and it can be done without a major increase in the default rate. If we just keep on going along the way to are CPS will eventually again effectively put into fiscal receivership like it was in 1979 and many bad things will be forced down the citizens of Chicago’s throats by an oversight board that will be impervious to political pressure.

  • Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: CPS score-rigging adds new meaning to 'growth'

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