Current Issue

Teacher turnover

CPS has never had a strong, districtwide program of teacher induction and mentoring to stem an attrition rate that is higher than the national average. Instead, efforts to retain teachers depend on smaller-scale programs and individual principals who make it a goal to empower—and keep—their teachers.

The Staff of Catalyst

July 24, 2014

Terrence Carter, who went from principal at Barton Elementary School to chief academic officer at Academy for Urban School Leadership, is having trouble getting his contract approved as superintendent of New London School District in Connecticut. At issue is whether he overstated his credentials by claiming he holds a doctorate, not only on his resume, but for years among colleagues in CPS and on professional documents.

July 21, 2014

Noble Street Charter School Network often boasts that its schools are the highest-achieving non-selective schools in the city. And, while it is true, Noble does not have students test in, critics have charged that its admissions and discipline policy keeps out unmotivated students and pushes out unruly students. But this year, under pressure, Noble has abandoned big parts of both policies.

July 17, 2014

WBEZ releases a big package this morning that proves what many have long charged: The opening of new charter high schools and selective enrollment schools--becoming a district focused on school choice or a “portfolio” district--has resulted in pronounced academic tracking between schools. Nearly all the high performers are in a select few schools, while charters attract average achievers and neighborhood schools now almost exclusively serve low-performers.

July 14, 2014

Budget matters. The Chicago Tribune’s school budget analysis shows that the143 charter and contract schools are getting a funding increase of $72 million---exactly the same amount as the cuts for the 504 traditional schools.

July 07, 2014

Connecting CPS to violenceApparently hoping to impress U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Mayor Rahm Emanuel last week announced that 49 fewer CPS students were shot and 12 percent fewer were victims of homicide. Up until the announcement, Chicago media had veered away from the previous common practice of identifying every young person killed by whether they went to Chicago Public Schools, a connection that led some folks to observe that the connection made it appear as though CPS were somehow responsible for the violence.

December 26, 2013

This holiday season, we are featuring videos from TEDxWellsStreetED: Teacher Voice Beyond the Classroom. We invite you to view the videos below of TEDxTalks that were given by numerous classroom teachers as well as acclaimed journalist Carol Marin, teacher blogger Marilyn Rhames, community activist Cecile Carroll, and others.

September 24, 2013

Join us for a live webcast on Saturday, Sept. 28 of TEDxWellsStreetED: Exploring Teacher Voice Beyond the Classroom. You will see and hear more than a dozen Chicago teachers and former teachers discuss what they do, and why the larger world should listen. Their short talks will feature compelling stories about teaching and learning; lessons on teacher leadership; and inspiring ideas for better schools.

For a complete list of speakers, other details and updates, follow the event’s official pages on Facebook and on Twitter.

November 15, 2012

The conversation quickly got heated at a Nov. 14 forum sponsored by Catalyst Chicago and the Better Government Association. After Catalyst Editor In Chief Lorraine Forte presented a primer on charter schools, Publisher Linda Lenz moderated a panel about their role in CPS.

October 31, 2012

Even in high school, teachers can help students develop the beliefs and habits that are needed for learning, says researcher Camille Farrington.

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