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.
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In the News: Abuse plagues CPS' free-lunch program
A Tribune investigation found that in at least 167 Chicago schools, the percentage of students receiving free lunches was at least 20 percentage points higher than the percentage enrolled in the country's two primary aid programs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Aid for Needy Families.
Chicago Public Schools on Thursday released guidelines for elementary and high schools will follow in adopting the full school day for the 2012-13 school year. The guidelines give schools significant flexibility in redesigning the school day to best meet the needs of their unique student body, according to a press release.
After a test this year, all of Chicago’s public schools will move to a seven-and-a-half-hour day next year — making it the first major city in recent years to add substantial school time district-wide. (Chicago News Cooperative)
Chicago Public Schools are reviewing and analyzing the new national sex-ed standards proposed this week. The new standards, which are recommendations for educators, focus on seven topics students should understand from kindergarten through high school: anatomy and physiology; puberty and adolescent development; identity; pregnancy and reproduction; sexually transmitted diseases and HIV; healthy relationships; and personal safety. (Medill Reports)
IN THE STATE
The cost to attend the University of Illinois will go up next year, but officials aren’t saying by how much. (Sun-Times)
Police are not filing charges against a Hoffman Estates High School teacher who resigned in November over allegations that a male student lived in her apartment for a month. (Daily Herald)
IN THE NATION
Education expert Linda Darling-Hammond says a new form of redlining is emerging—education redlining. "If passed, the long-awaited Senate bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) would build a bigger highway between low-performing schools serving high-need students—the so-called “bottom 5 percent”—and all other schools," she writes in The Nation. "Tragically, the proposed plan would weaken schools in the most vulnerable communities and further entrench the problems—concentrated poverty, segregation and lack of human and fiscal resources—that underlie their failure."
In his State of the City address, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hit a nerve by proposing a merit-pay system for teachers and not shying away from other controversial education topics. (The New York Times)
New York will seek to attract and reward “highly effective” teachers, evaluate their performance and create 100 schools, including some that prepare students for technical careers, Bloomberg said on Thursday. (Businessweek.com)
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that gives private firms the authority to run failing public schools in three inner-city districts. The Urban Hope Act creates a 10-year pilot program that will allow nonprofit organizations to build and operate “renaissance” schools in Newark, Trenton and Camden. Groups can apply to local boards and then the state Education Department for as many as four schools in each city. (Businessweek.com)
Most studies of charter schools use unsophisticated methods and are flawed in ways that prevent researchers from accurately gauging those institutions' impact on student achievement, a new review concludes. (Education Week)