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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

Rebecca Harris

March 20, 2014

During the contract negotiation sessions that recently ended at the UNO Charter School Network, one of the biggest points of contention for teachers was the evaluation system and its link to year-end bonuses.

March 12, 2014

Students who lose out in the upcoming round of selective elementary school admissions – as well as other students whose families might have never considered applying – have another option: The district’s less-well-known comprehensive gifted programs, located within magnet and open-enrollment neighborhood schools.

February 24, 2014

As part of its arts education plan, CPS has rolled out the district’s first-ever effort to rate schools on the quality of their arts programs and linked the ratings to arts funding of $500 to 750 per school.

February 14, 2014

Staff shortages at the Department of Children and Family Services are causing some child care centers to wait months before their licenses can be renewed – causing problems for child care businesses and possibly putting children’s safety at risk.

February 10, 2014

For the last two years, CPS has pioneered the use of an on-track indicator for students in 3rd through 8th grades that now counts for 10 percent of elementary principals’ evaluations.

It’s based on the more widely known “Freshman On-Track” indicator, which has been backed by years of research from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.

February 06, 2014

Shortly before lunch, a young man with a Super Mario backpack walks into James Zeckhauser’s office at Kelvyn Park High School. 

Zeckhauser takes his paperwork and photocopies the electric bill the young man brought as proof of residency.

February 06, 2014

Part of the CPS push to improve career education is to have students gain relevant work experience through internships and earn industry-recognized credentials to help them get jobs. 

But on both fronts, the district is falling short. 

In 2011-12, CPS made nearly 1,500 offers to fill 682 internship slots. But more students are accepting internships now than in past years. In 2012-13, CPS made 1,011 offers to students to fill about 800 internship slots. 

February 06, 2014

A career-related certificate administered by the International Baccalaureate Organization—more widely known for its advanced, rigorous IB Diploma Programme—is the cornerstone of CPS’ efforts to expand its high school IB offerings in new “wall-to-wall” IB schools.

There are skeptics who say the new program is unproven—it was first offered in fall 2012, too recently to gauge its effectiveness. When the career certificate began to take off in Britain, The Guardian (of London) reported that some educators viewed it as a diluted version of the well-known Diploma Programme. 

February 06, 2014

On a November morning, the first agenda item in Krystian Weglarz’ class is to have students review the process of obtaining copies of their grade transcripts and ACT scores in preparation for completing college applications. 

Next, Weglarz takes a tally to see how many students have improved their ACT scores. “If it went down, you don’t have to submit that one,” he says. “You just keep the higher one.” 

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